As the presidential election approaches, concerns for public safety and feelings of anxiety and fear are growing for many. This is in addition to feelings that we are managing from an incredibly difficult semester. In reality, election day may come and go without final results, as it may take some time for all ballots to be counted. While we have gained experience in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty, this drawn out process proves challenging as we try to prepare for whatever may come next.
There is much that remains uncertain; some things, however, we know for sure:
The threats experienced against BIPOC communities are real.
The targeting of the lives and humanity of BIPOC people and people from other minoritized identities has been amplified in recent years. We want to acknowledge the deep fear for their physical and psychological safety that members of our BIPOC community are experiencing, and the toll that this stress and dehumanization can take on people’s well-being. The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing structural inequities for communities of color. This reality, coupled with the racial violence, has had a disproportionate and devastating impact on the lives of BIPOC people.
We acknowledge this, and stand in solidarity with the BIPOC members of our community.
We are focused on campus safety. Regardless of the results of the election, many will feel called to action. Our location near the State Capitol affords us the opportunity to witness the democratic freedoms of free speech up close and personal. It is important to understand the very real possibility of the presence of weapons, intimidation and violent tactics that could be employed by some groups at these events. What starts as a peaceful demonstration can erupt with little to no warning and quickly morph into something of greater risk to personal safety.
Some things to know
- Oregon is a state that allows the “open carry” of firearms. In the past, participants in rallies at the Capitol have included people carrying firearms. However, Willamette University is a gun-free, weapon-free zone. If you were to observe anyone carrying a weapon, do not approach them, but instead call Campus Safety at 503-370-6911 and report what you have observed. Campus Safety will contact Salem Police if there are people on our campus with firearms or other weapons.
- We are increasing signage along the campus perimeter along State Street stating that campus is closed to outside visitors.
- We have been in contact with personnel at the Capitol Police and with the Salem Police and they have confirmed that they will be in communication with us if anything should develop that may cause a safety risk in the vicinity.
- Campus Safety officers will be strategically deployed over the next few weeks to increase security in areas near the Capitol and will be hiring contract security for additional support at certain times.
- On Monday, Nov. 2, we will have our monthly test of the Emergency Notification System. If there is ever an immediate need for students to react in some way, the Emergency Notification System will be employed.
- Often students are aware of events happening via social media before Willamette administrators are. If you learn of hate groups or other groups of concern gathering in the area, please contact student Lisa Landreman, VP of Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If at any time you experience threats or violence, or witness any activity that causes concern, contact Campus Safety at 503-370-6911.
We believe, Black Lives Matter and stand in solidarity with BIPOC students, employees and community members. In addition to being present for and with you, here are some additional resources for self-care for Black people.
- Contemporary self-care tips for Black people
- Seven mental health resources for Black people
- 44 additional resources for Black people
White people have an important role in ending white supremacy. It is important for white people to consider how their presence can be most helpful in anti-racism work. Here are some things white people can do.
- Direct actions you can take as an ally
- Anti-racism resources for white people
- 103 things white people can do right now
We can maintain our connections and well-being, even now. Here again are resources that were shared in Today@Willamette on how to stay informed, supported, and connected during this time of pre and post election. Faculty and staff have received resources to help guide these important, and sometimes emotional conversations. Here is an additional resource: Coping During Community Unrest.
Your vote matters. Perhaps now more than ever before. If you haven’t submitted your ballot, check out this voter drop box locator to find the drop box closest to you.
We are stronger together. When we look out for one another, when we support one another, when we see one another, we are better together. Non Nobis Solum Nati Sumus.