UVU post-election committee offers support to students

Photo/Kayla Baggerly

Near the end of September, J.C. Graham, UVU’s director of Crisis Services, reached out to multiple groups across campus to establish a neutral initiative intended to provide support for students after the election. Individuals from various Students Affairs departments, such as Student Health Services, Ombuds, Multicultural Student Services, LGBT Student Services, Center for Social Impact and the Women’s Success Center, created a committee to provide resources to students with any stress or concerns related to the election.

The entities have worked together to prepare different materials and events for students to access after the election, including care packages and letters. Alexis Palmer, the associate vice president of Student Life, said that they have created a Bias Education Support Team meant to educate and help those impacted by bias incidents, as well as empower them to respond without infringing upon free speech or academic freedom. They are also creating a free speech website that is expected to go live Monday.

Multicultural Student Services is ensuring that their staff will be available for students to contact via phone, email or video appointments. Per usual, they will be co-facilitating their Students of Color Forum with Student Health Services. This week’s forum will focus on providing a safe space for students to debrief and discuss their feelings related to the election results.

In addition to making preparations for the care packages, LGBT Student Services is working with Graham to create a post-election dialogue.

Emily Branvold, the program director of the UVU LGBT Student Services, said, “I would like students to know that in the face of adversity there will always be people ready to lift, to help and to carve out safe spaces for them. I know that my job as program director is made possible by the many staff and faculty at UVU that are committed to making UVU a safer space for students experiencing various intersections of identity.”

The meetings planned for post-election response are listed below:

Center for Social Impact: Post-Election Listening Hours- A place for students to join virtually in a trusted space for discussion.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 4, 10-11 a.m. 
  • Thursday, Nov. 5, 12-1 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 6, 1-2 p.m. 

Student of Color Forum

Nov. 4, 6:30 p.m – 8 p.m. – Student of Color Forum

Care package distribution: Nov. 4-6:

LGBT Student Services and the Women’s Success Center are coordinating assembly and distribution of care packages to the following areas:

  • Student Health Services
  • Ombuds
  • Student Life, Dean of Students
  • Multicultural Student Services/LGBT Student Services
  • Women’s Success Center
  • If students are coming in to seek services and support specifically about their emotions/feelings regarding the elections, they will be offered a small care package through these offices.

Talatou Abdoulaye, the university ombudsman, said that he wants students to know that the school is there for them. 

“UVU realized that regardless of anyone’s political stance or political affiliation on campus, that post-election, many [students] might be in a position where they might need some form of support,” he said.

Abdoulaye explained that there have been similar committees in the past, but that this is the largest initiative so far. He said that they wanted to create a way to bring people together and have various and diverse forms of support. Abdoulaye stated that their offices will be open to students who need someone to talk to.

“This is an initiative to support them [students]. This is what UVU does. UVU always tries to plan ahead and try to address major things that might be within students’ needs and try to address those issues,” he said. 

“We want students to reach out because we know that these are things that our entire society could experience. Regardless of where someone is on the political side, they may need some support. Whether it is talking, debriefing, venting, we are just an ear to listen to them.”

If a student is experiencing a crisis, they can access Student Health Services at 801-863-8876 from 8 a.m – 5 p.m. and ask to speak with a crisis therapist. After hours, they can use the SafeUT app. 

The ombudsman’s office can be reached MWF from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m or via phone at 801-863-7237 and email at [email protected].

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