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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.

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 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 and to learn about strategies and resources for protecting yourself both on and off-campus online, please go here.

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.

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 and campus leaders are already planning for new speakers and workshops to occur in the fall.

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.

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).

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)