Lawrence U. Offers “Healing Space” for Students to Cope with Election

This is a guest post by Jerry Bader.

It appears Lawrence University’s Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA) in Appleton was concerned that its students of color may have been traumatized by the result of Tuesday’s presidential election and the nation’s selection of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. From the Lawrence University Life Facebook page:

[W]e (CODA) will be having a Healing Space for Marginalized Students and Allyship Workshops on campus as part of reaction to the election results for the US Presidency from the previous night. Please read the following if you wish to attend:

  1. Students of color (Black and Brown of all ethnicities) will have the Diversity Center for themselves. Kadihjia Kelly from Counseling Services and Guil Loiussaint and Deep Tripurana from CODA will assist her.
  2. All White students (Straight, LGTBQ+, etc) will meet at Memorial Hall 115 where Professor Helen Boyd Kramer and AJ Williams will lead discussions. White students will be split into different workshops thereafter. White people, please know your place and respect these rules: we are not catering this for your benefit but rather for the healing of those who are suffering right now. If anything becomes problematic you may be asked to leave: keep that in mind.
  3. PLEASE do not use the Entrance Doors to the Diversity Center that is located towards the Warch side. It will blow in wind and also disrupt the healing session in the Diversity Center (use the other door entrances please).
  4. WHITE STUDENTS, do not enter Diversity Center and interrupt the Healing Session: that space is not for you.
  5. At the end of the night, if you wish to see Professor Helen Kramer and such, students of color may see her from the Diversity Center.
  6. F**k White Supremacy, Patriarchy, Global Anti-Blackness, Heteronormativity, and every power structure that has led us to this night.
  7. Please be respectful and humble tonight. This is not a night for debate or colorful discussion: we are having healing for marginalized students and education/reminder for the more privileged to engage in the work to help empower the more vulnerable individuals on this campus.

Please come to feel safe and build community. Please be safe and please stay in groups, with trusted friends and allies. You are NOT alone, you will always have our support at CODA, Diversity Center, and Sankofa.

Not only does CODA believe students of color need a healing space to recover from Trump’s victory, they also make clear white students are not welcome at the event. Millions of Americans are disappointed, even upset, at Tuesday’s outcome. Yet some young adults on the Lawrence campus apparently lack the life coping skills we expect adults to possess.

According to a Facebook post by a Lawrence University professor, faculty were also told to consider the psychological toll watching election returns may have had on students:

Please consider the feelings of students and their emotional needs during what is for many a difficult time. Decisions about whether to hold class or how to use class time if we do hold class are up to each of us as individuals.

So at Lawrence University staying up late to watch election results is a reason to consider not holding classes because, as we all know, the concept of staying up till the wee hours is foreign to college students.

Donald Trump’s comments on minorities and women certainly have offended many people. But does an institution of higher learning prepare students for life after college by encouraging them to take shelter in a “healing space” when a presidential candidate offends their sensibilities? And would the Lawrence CODA have provided a healing space if a candidate who referred to one half of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables” had been elected president?