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Coronavirus and Stigma: For employees


Dear Colleague:

The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (OIDE) knows we are living through an extraordinary and difficult time. The pandemic has shown the best of working together and caring for each other. During this challenging COVID-19 period, we are seeing higher instances across the globe of Asian and Asian-American individuals who are experiencing racism and mistreatment. When people are frustrated and feeling out of control they can target others and wrongly cast blame by stereotyping groups of people. Each and every incident is unacceptable. For example, per the World Health Organization: This may seem like a trivial issue to some, but disease names really do matter to the people who are directly affected. We've seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular communities. Moreover, diseases are often given common names by people outside of the scientific community. Once disease names are established in common usage through the Internet and social media, they are difficult to change, even if an inappropriate name is being used. As a community focused on inclusive excellence, it is critical that we stand up for each other when facing any form of oppression that threatens our values and any act of racism diminishes us all. We write to you in solidarity, but more importantly, to extend an invitation for you to be the good kind of accomplice-not just an active bystander or an ally. Our colleagues, students, friends and community are counting on us to help fight and respond to racism, to discrimination, to xenophobic actions, and silencing of communities. I invite you to refrain from sharing images and language that supports xenophobia and, instead, to respond.

See ESF's Non-Discrimination Policy at https://www.esf.edu/ide/discrimination.htm

To report an ESF Bias Incident https://www.esf.edu/ide/bias.htm

The following are examples of what we can do/say to stop oppression:

As an Ally:

"I am sorry that happened to you. "I am here to listen if you want to talk."

"That sounds awful. You do not deserve to be treated that way. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"What happened to you was wrong. I am sorry for the way you were treated."

As a Bystander:

"Please stop targeting/blaming my friend. They are not responsible for the global pandemic."

"Your racism toward him/her/them is wrong. Please stop."

"I am not okay with how you are treating her/him/them. Please leave."

"If you truly want to combat this public health crisis, I recommend social distancing and washing your hands rather than blaming a group of people."

We want to support our community, colleagues, students, and friends. We need to be vigilant against this type of language and other racist-xenophobic acts. This is not unlike other times when we have asked you during Title IX/Clery or Anti-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment trainings to respond to discrimination and be a champion for equity, diversity and inclusion. We invite you to understand what is currently being experienced by these communities, engage in conversation, educate others, and hold each other accountable.

Should you witness or learn about discrimination please reach out to the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Affirmative Action Officer, Rebecca Hoda-Kearse rahodake@esf.edu.

Lastly, we encourage everyone to give additional understanding and empathy to those students who might be away from their traditional support systems at this time. Whether they be international students who can't get home, or domestic students whose homes are now inaccessible due to COVID-19, we encourage everyone to show additional support as we weather this situation. Even when we are social distancing, the ESF community can remain a warm and welcoming place for those in need.

Dr. Malika Carter

Chief Diversity Officer

Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (OIDE)


C: 315-317-0095

Rebecca Hoda-Kearse

Title IX Coordinator and Affirmative Action Officer

Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (OIDE)


C: 917-549-4213

This message is endorsed by:

Office of International Education

Division of Student Affairs

ESF Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee