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Dear Students,

We are reaching out today as both UVM’s Bias Response Team and as UVM 
community members who—like many of you—have struggled at times to make 
sense of this year. Some of this is due to personal loss and uncertainty 
in the midst of the pandemic, racial injustice and fatigue, inequality 
based on our lived experiences and identity, and the high frequency of 
mass violence in our world. Some of these incidents have occurred 
locally while others have impacted our broader society.

As a campus that thrives when we can be in connection with each other, 
this last year has made it even more challenging to manage grief and 
shock, and at times, has left many feeling isolated and unsure of where 
to go for support. Given the intensity of all that has occurred, we 
believe it necessitates a pause and opportunity for care and connection.

As the University’s Bias Response Team, we have heard directly from 
members of our community the desire to have more information about 
safety and security resources on campus, programs to discuss critical 
issues, and an opportunity to be in community with others to share the 
impact of what we are experiencing.

After conversations and collaboration with various student and 
administrative leaders, we want to share the following resources and an 
invitation to attend an optional virtual space (one for graduate 
students and the other is for undergraduate students), where you can be 
in community with your fellow students as your authentic selves and 
support each other.

***SAFETY & SECURITY*
The University uses a holistic and community-centric model to promote 
the safety and security of everyone on campus. As UVM community members, 
the goal of University Police Services is to be available should you 
ever need help or support. If you are experiencing an emergency, please 
call 911 or contact UVM Police Services at 802-656-3473. You can also 
communicate with UVM Police by using the LiveSafe 
<https://www.uvm.edu/police/livesafe-app> application, activating the 
Blue Light system, or by flagging down or approaching an officer around 
campus. UVM Officers are specifically trained in community policing, are 
available 24/7 every day, and can help you get connected with medical, 
mental health, or other UVM support resources in emergency and 
non-emergency situations. All of the residence halls are locked 24/7 
(with the exception of the Living/Learning complex which contains 
administrative offices during the workday), and all academic buildings 
are locked overnight. Key locations on campus are equipped with security 
cameras and alarms to ensure that our community is safe and secure. To 
learn more about on-campus safety measures go here 
<https://www.uvm.edu/emergency/uvms_safety_and_security_philosophy> and 
to learn about strategies and resources for protecting yourself both on 
and off-campus online, please go here 
<https://www.uvm.edu/it/kb/article/managing-online-safety/>.

An additional campus resource is the Office of Affirmative Action and 
Equal Opportunity (AAEO). Specifically, the Director of AAEO and the 
AAEO Intake and Outreach Coordinator are available to provide support 
services to students, staff, and faculty who  feel targeted based on 
their identity. AAEO staff are always available to provide general 
information about harassment and discrimination complaint, 
investigation, and resolution procedures, as well as provide referrals 
to confidential and non-confidential resources, both on and off campus.

*EDUCATIONAL ENGAGEMENT *
The University has and will continue to provide spaces to engage in a 
variety of topics to support ongoing learning about diversity, equity 
and inclusion. Recently, there was the annual Black Board Jungle 
Symposium <http://www.uvm.edu/~ues/blackboardjungle13/index.html> and 
campus leaders are already planning for new speakers and workshops to 
occur in the fall.

  * Undergraduate Students: The Identity Centers
    <https://www.uvm.edu/diversity/identity-centers-uvm> and Living Well
    <https://www.uvm.edu/health/livingwell> are consistently creating
    programs and initiatives to support the current and emergent needs
    of the student community. Please join their lists to get connected
    to the community of your choice.

  * Graduate Students: You also have the ability to join the programs
    and lists provided by Living Well and the Identity Centers. In
    addition to those offices, the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) is
    hosting a Step Up: To Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination
    <https://www.uvm.edu/health/stepup> session later in April
    exclusively for the graduate community. You will hear shortly from
    GSS on how to participate.


*COMMUNITY SUPPORT*
Members of our UVM community are invited to participate in a Community 
Gathering with fellow undergraduate or graduate students. The hope for 
the time together is to create a space where people can share their 
personal perspectives and the impact of recent events on them as 
individuals while coming together as a broader community. Skilled 
facilitators will serve as guides to support both student communities in 
the conversations and time of reflection.

In order to prepare the space, please let us know if you would like to 
attend and if you need any accommodations. To indicate your attendance 
to either space, please use the form link below.

  * *The Graduate Community Gathering will take place on Wednesday,
    April 14 from 12 - 1:30 p.m.* Please use this form
    <https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=WHcXHGtN3EOq6zucQlYpZxHBX1ZhLnJHlbvunjSqG0xUOEZCVUkzTFBVM1JYR1NaR0dMRkJVNVpTRi4u&wdLOR=c0469E79A-6890-D44A-874E-C7F21451EF5F>
    to indicate your participation.

  * *The Undergraduate Community Gathering will take place on Thursday,
    April 15 from 4:30 - 6 p.m.* Please use this form
    <https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=WHcXHGtN3EOq6zucQlYpZxHBX1ZhLnJHlbvunjSqG0xUNDM5WkRWTVQyNFZXQThINkVBSTg5UEUxVC4u&wdLOR=c6A73470E-E2E3-B543-8D6D-594713F73F76>
    to indicate your participation.

Please note, these spaces are not a quick fix or isolated responses, but 
rather an opportunity to see, hear, and honor individuals’ experiences.

As always, we encourage any student who would benefit from additional 
skilled and individualized support to call Counseling and Psychiatry 
Services (CAPS) <https://www.uvm.edu/health/CAPS>.

We ask that you continue to uplift and support our community during this 
time.

With care,

*UVM Bias Response Team*

Jilliene Rodriguez, Diversity, Engagement, and Professional Development 
Director (Chair)
Tim Bilodeau, Chief of UVM Police Services (Member)
Amber Buck, Associate Director for Residential Education (Member)
Jaydeen Santos, Assistant Director of the Mosaic Center for Students of 
Color (Member)
Sarah Helmer, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Arts 
and Sciences (Member)
Kim Martin, Director of Student Conduct (Member)
Joe Russell, Assistant Dean of Students (Member)