Topic: Diversity and Inclusion

September 23, 2016

Dear Students:

I hope your semester is off to a good start. This summer, I sent a letter to our returning students reflecting on events across our nation and how my thoughts were drawn to your well-being and sense of safety. Recent local and national incidents have left many of you feeling marginalized, isolated, and afraid. I am again thinking about your well-being and sense of safety, not only on our campus but in the community whether that be Muncie or elsewhere. We want to acknowledge the impact of these events and to let you know we care and have resources available to support you and your peers.

In addition to support groups offered through the Counseling Center, I hope you will consider participating in one or more of the following programs:

Beneficence Dialogue is an opportunity for you to contribute to advancing our work on diversity and helping our campus become more inclusive and welcoming for all. The event will be September 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Student Center Cardinal Hall.

Brave Spaces explore topics through an honest sharing of perspectives on subjects such as identity, civility, and empathy. The Brave Spaces initiative takes place monthly in the residence halls. Ask in the respective hall for a schedule.

Kaleidoscope is a safe place for ethnic/racial minority students to share their experiences. The group meets each Monday from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Center library. Open group, which is for all students to come learn how to be an ally for students of color, meets the last Monday of each month (September 26, October 31, November 28). Kaleidoscope is one of many outreach support groups offered by the Counseling Center.

In the meantime, we offer some tips for coping with traumatic events:

  • Talk about it. Reactions of anger and sadness are natural in response to these events. One of the most helpful things is to connect with others by sharing your thoughts and emotions. Don't isolate yourself. Find a peer, counselor, faith leader, or trusted faculty or staff member who will understand and accept your feelings. Call home and talk with your family members.
  • Give yourself a break. Turn off television/radio and social media. These can be useful sources of information but may also stimulate more negative emotions to these events.
  • Get back to your daily routines. Do the things you would normally do, even if you don't feel like it. It's a good way to regain a sense of control and help you feel less anxious.
  • Get involved in your community. Engaging in activities like group discussions can help bring comfort and knowledge that you are not alone. Doing something positive to advance the issue is also empowering.
  • Help others. Listen attentively to others. People may have different responses than you do, so try to accept their feelings. If you are concerned about them, contact one of the resources available to you for help. As we continue to respond to campus and national events, we are reminded of the ideals we have committed to as a Ball State community through the Beneficence Pledge, "to act in a socially responsible way" and "to value the intrinsic worth of every member of the community." Our work toward achieving a diverse, inclusive, and civically engaged campus community will continue in the weeks, months, and years to come. We value a campus community where all of us live and learn in a supportive and caring environment.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kay Bales
Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services