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Campus & Community

Safety and Self-Care in Challenging Times

October 28, 2020

Below is a message from Helen Y. Bowman, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer; Paul E. Jensen, Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost; and Subir Sahu, Senior Vice President of Student Success:

As you no doubt have seen in the news or witnessed in your own neighborhoods, after many citizens gathered in peaceful protest last night, Philadelphia was rocked by escalating tensions between police and demonstrators later in the evening, including scattered property damage throughout the city. A Drexel Alert was sent shortly before 10 p.m. conveying the Philadelphia Police Department request that residents of West Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Kensington and other neighborhoods remain indoors for their safety. Philadelphia has now issued a citywide curfew to last from 9 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.

As of the writing of this message, we have not received any reports of violence or property damage on our University City campus or in the immediate vicinity, although some local businesses have taken steps to protect their storefronts.

We want to acknowledge that, in light of this situation, as well as the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the divisiveness of this election season, and the continuing struggle for racial justice, many students, faculty and professional staff are feeling pain, stress, anxiety and other heightened emotions. It remains as important as ever that we care for each other and for our mental and physical health and well-being. In this email, we have included:

  • Campus Safety Updates and Resources
  • Self-Care Strategies and Resources
  • Recommendations for Communicating Through Difference

Campus Safety Updates and Resources

We want to emphasize that our campuses remain safe for students and other members of the University community. The Drexel Department of Public Safety will continue to work hard to ensure a safe campus environment through effective community policing and security practices.

As a reminder, community members should report any safety concerns to Drexel Public Safety at 215.895.2222. Please take advantage of all the resources we offer to help keep you safe, including the Drexel Guardian app and walking escorts.  

Self-Care Strategies and Resources

Counseling and Health Same-Day Appointments for Students

In addition to their ongoing services, the Counseling Center is offering 30-minute, same-day appointments to help students who need a safe space. For more information, please e-mail counseling@drexel.edu. The Center is also offering drop-in group appointments for students who would prefer to connect with other students to discuss their experiences, whether around social unrest or the election. Please check the Counseling Center's website for more details.

Faculty and Professional Staff Counseling Resources

Drexel's Employee Assistance Program (EAP), administered by Lincoln Financial Group, is available to help you navigate the challenges that life, work, and relationships can bring. You can access confidential, 24/7 counseling with a toll-free phone call (1.888.628.4824). This benefit is offered at no cost to benefits-eligible faculty and professional staff, their family members, and Drexel graduate students. More information is available on the Human Resources website.

Spiritual and Religious Support

Drexel is home to a diverse and vibrant faith-based community. Students, faculty, and professional staff may find support and connection through spiritual guidance from one of the University's Chaplains

Self-Care Best Practices

  • Be Mindful of Your Media Consumption – Pay attention to the way you feel about the news you're reading and watching, and remember that you are consuming information through the filter of someone else's perspective. If you feel overwhelmed, take time away from the news and instead focus on your own firsthand experiences.
  • Take a Break From Social Media – Set limits on your social media activity; count to 10 before opening an app.
  • Maintain a Balance – Counterbalance negative news with more positive, hopeful news.
  • Practice Gratitude – By focusing on what we are thankful for, we can work to become more resilient, lessen anxiety and depression, and strengthen our relationships.
  • Be Present – Be aware of and acknowledge thoughts and feelings with non-judgmental curiosity, and give yourself permission to feel the way you do.
  • Be Kind To Yourself – Recognize your own personal mental and emotional limits.
  • Tap Into Your Creativity – Channel those thoughts and feelings into writing, painting or drawing.
  • Replenish – Focus on restoring yourself. Get enough rest, eat well, drink plenty of water, and move daily.

Recommendations for Communicating Through Difference

As Drexel community members, we do not have to agree on everything, but we must commit to being respectful to one another. Consider the following tips when entering into difficult conversations:

  • Practice active listening by focusing not just on the words a person is saying, but on the entirety of their message. Challenge yourself to listen closely and not just wait for your turn to speak.
  • Be aware of non-verbal communication and the impact of facial expressions and body language on a conversation.
  • Share space with others by putting limits on yourself so that you don't take over a conversation by talking too much.
  • Be prepared with a strategy. Consider what phrases you might use to speak respectfully to people with whom you disagree, even if they are not respectful back.

More Resources

The Student Code of Conduct provides guidance for behavioral expectations of all Drexel Dragons. Please keep these in mind while interacting with others online and in person, and report through our public portal if you notice any behavior that does not meet our standards as a community. Similarly, the University's Code of Conduct Policy applies to  all students, faculty and professional staff; if you see or know of something that may be in violation of law or University policy, you are encouraged to report it to the Compliance Hotline at drexel.ethicspoint.com or 1.866.358.1010.  Immediate safety concerns should be reported to Public Safety at 215.895.2222.

The Office of Equality and Diversity (OED) is committed to promoting, supporting, and providing resources to sustain a living, learning, and working environment of diversity, equality, fairness, inclusion, and respect where all members of the University community are valued. If you wish to make a report of discrimination or harassment on the basis of one of these protected categories, or any other bias incident, please contact OED at oed@drexel.edu.

Please use the resources provided in this email if you need them, and don't hesitate to pass them along to friends and colleagues who may be in need.

Be safe and take care.