Diversity in COVID-19
First and foremost, I hope you are doing well and staying safe.
Like everyone else, we, in the Office of Inclusive Excellence, remain concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world and more specifically on our community. We are in unprecedented times that are understandably causing fear, anxiety and confusion in our path forward. It is important to remember that we are an inclusive community of learners, appreciative of multicultural perspectives, linking to our advancement of student success.
In my recent meetings with faculty, staff and students, I continue to be impressed with our commitment to diversity and inclusion in all that we do. To this end, I want to share a few “Inclusivity Reminders”, that might be helpful as we continue our journey toward Inclusive Excellence.
- Keep equity in mind when making decisions about monitoring your remote employees. Ask yourself “how can I ensure that the work for our office or department is shared equitably?” Also consider asking your colleagues “how can I support you?”
- When checking in with staff or faculty who are working from home, please consider that they may be encountering additional responsibilities and remember to approach your expectations with compassion and thoughtfulness.
- Be mindful that access to electronic resources may be unequally available as some of your colleagues and students may have geographical and multiple user constraints reducing and stretching their internet access and capacity.
- Consider the unusual needs that a virtual university environment might create for our students, such as time zone differences and additional responsibilities at home. Many students have traveled home, throughout the country and world, their student roles and time-frames may be impacted. Please consider these factors in your approach to advancing student success.
- Be aware that there are reports across the country of internet trolls accessing private video meeting services to share inappropriate imagery or offensive language, identified as Zoom-bombing. Please incorporate “ Best Practices” to reduce this activity in your classroom. This form of online harassment can be deeply upsetting and if it happens within a video meeting you are in, please alert your supervisor, and/or the Equal Opportunity Services as soon as possible.
- This time is bound to induce stress, anxiety, and mental health strain. Not only are we pulling together as a community to support our students and one another, but we are also being leaned on by family, friends and our neighbors. Please be patient with yourselves and one another during this time.
- Although my research has indicated that this is not a large issue at UTSA, incidents of bias towards Asian and Asian-American individuals have increased across the country. It is imperative that we continue to not engage in these harmful narratives promoting harmful stereotypes.
- Regardless of your own identities and relative status of health, it is important to prevent the spread of illness, particularly to help protect those who are most vulnerable to risks from infection. Following recommendations from the Center of Disease Control is a practical and necessary way to demonstrate care, support, and solidarity for others. Going forward, the Office of inclusive Excellence will continue to highlight digital resources and introduce new tools designed to assist our Roadrunner community during these unprecedented times. We will also continue to engage with you virtually, with content to further support you as we infuse Inclusive Excellence throughout many aspects of our lives. Please visit our website at ( https://www.utsa.edu/inclusiveexcellence/) as there is more to come.
Take care, be safe and we will get through this together.
Myron R. Anderson, Ph.D.
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence