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An open letter to my students about politics

I support the rights of ALL students to engage in thoughtful discourse and legal political actions.

As an educator (and specifically one at a state university) I continually acknowledge my own personal bias along with my political, social, and religious ideologies. I do not apologize for them as it is within my rights to hold each and every one of them. I tell students in our first day of class together – who I am.

I have chosen to attempt political neutrality in my classroom. To that end, I am avoiding discussions of specific political views, actions, and candidates. While many of our classroom topics are very much impacted by what is happening in the world around us, I believe – at this time – it is important for me to err on the side of caution. So, while I may use the example of Donald Trump’s hand gestures during a discussion of body language and the workplace, I won’t talk about Trump’s executive orders, for instance. One is a useful example that I can provide so my students understand a topic. The other is unnecessary at this time and would simply provoke dissent among students when they should be focused on their studies.

Am I thrilled with this decision? No, it’s quite uncomfortable to feel as if I’m boxing myself in, but I believe I can serve my students better in my capacity as educator. It is our job to help you develop skills in thinking rather than to tell you what to think.

Please do not mistake my silence for apathy.

Do not assume that I acquiesce to any policy simply because I remain mute.

Here is what I will say – because I think it is essential to do so:

You have value, place, and purpose.

I will respect your person-hood. Regardless of your past, your family, your faith, or the design of the meat-suit you inhabit, you are valuable. Our past provides clues in terms of context and motivation. It does not need to dictate our future.  

I will respect your right to hold the beliefs you cherish, regardless of how far they are from my own. I will expect you to extend that same courtesy to me and your student colleagues.

As it is within my power, I will protect you and your rights. I will not permit you to trample on the rights of others on my watch.

I will encourage you to consider the perspective of others – as I always have – and I will continue to believe that there is good in all of us, ALL OF US.

You are amazing. I celebrate that.

And, last but not least…

One of the great outcomes of this election cycle and our new POTUS -in my humble opinion- is that many more Americans are now discussing important political topics while taking the time and energy to learn how our government works. People are becoming involved again with the mechanics of governance. I think this is a positive.

And, in taking a page from many Librarians who navigated political waters following the PATRIOT ACT all those years ago. There may come a time when I am told that I cannot alert people to requests for information. I take my cue from the men and women in the stacks… 

Nobody from the federal government has requested

any information from me about any of my students

or coworkers. Watch for the removal of this message 😉

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Au16 Book Challenge Update

good-jobFor anyone checking in on our book challenge… more info is coming. The response was so fantastic, they had to bring in a bookshelf to accommodate donations!

 

I’ll post photos and final tallies soon.

Now… what are we going to do THIS semester? Hmmm…

 

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Au16 Book Drive Challenge: Mid-Week Check-in (Week 3)

On a somber note, this past week was a frightening one for the students we are working with. While the young man who lost his life was not one of the students in the group we’re partnering with – his passing was sudden and too sad to imagine. Our thoughts are with his family, the students who were touched by the tragedy, and the school community at large. Eleven years is not enough.


What a difference a week can make. Over the last week, the Green Team has risen to the challenge and we saw over 30 books + items come in!

Oh, and we now have another team on the board. While it is not part of the competition, it’s a way to keep track of donations that are coming from OTHERS (who’ve heard what we are doing and wish to help).

Keep it up! I had to extend the bookshelf in our graphic! I’d LOVE to add more length to it – what a wonderful problem to have.

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Simon & Garfunkel “I am a Rock”

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Au16 Book Drive Challenge: Mid-Week Check-in

We’re in the second week of our book challenge. Over the weekend, the Green Team woke… and while it may have been a single book that arrived, it is A BOOK… do not underestimate the power of each one that comes in and heads off to the middle school. I’m looking forward to the rest of this week and what is going to appear next! So far, every single donation has been useful and appreciated.

My current students may very well be the last generation that has a collection of books – as we continue to move to digital media. Let’s keep those wonderful stories out of boxes… away from cobwebs… and in the hands of other children who want (and need) to read.

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And so it begins…

The blue group dove in head-first with 13 books donated in the first two days of the official challenge. Let’s see what comes in over the weekend!

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The first batch has already been handed over to the kids!

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OPEN OFFICE HOURS: NOW!

Just a reminder that I’m holding open office hours today (and Friday, July 22nd) from 8:00 to 11:00 am. I’m here now if you’d like to swing by.

Also remember that I can schedule a meeting with you at another time (if office hours aren’t convenient for you or you are remote and need a phone consult). Let me know if you’d like to schedule one with me.

You can find me in Campbell Hall, Room 127. I sent an email out with a map, but in case you forgot, you enter through the door to 129. There IS construction blocking the one hallway next to my door, so you need to enter from the SOUTH side of Campbell Hall.

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Antique Brass Doorstop outside my office door in Campbell Hall on OSU Campus (Photo by Anita Parker, April 2014)

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I hope you get the chance…

imagesSo that happened. Yesterday. There was more violence and much closer than many of us would care to feel it. Scary? Yes. Receiving those “shelter in place” messages can send some of us to a dark place.

Fear.

Fear isn’t terribly useful past its initial “flight or fight” impulse. It’s healthy to fear if it spurs us to action and saves us further damage. Wallowing in it? Avoiding it? Neither are useful. Ah, but the fear  can also put us into a fairly primitive place where our minds realize how much of our day-to-day life is just noise.  In those moments we receive a gift of sorts: We realize what is and is not truly important to us. That’s useful too.

Fear.

Do your best to face it.

Feel it.

Appreciate the initial message your body and mind communicate to you… they are trying to keep you safe.

My best advice is to FEEL it but not FEED it.

Easier said than done, I know. Take care of yourself – ask for help if you need it – and refocus your energies on the things you CAN control: Studying, for instance (wink).

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Vagina Monologues

If  you’ve ever wanted to see them (or to see them again… since they are so different each time), check out the local Vagina Monologues this Friday or Sunday! You’ll probably recognize some faces (Tara for one!). Sadly, not mine. Nope… I can’t make it 😦

There is a cost (ten dollars at the door) or you can pre-purchase tickets online to be sure you get a spot. As I type this, there are still some TABLES available too in case you want to take a group and get comfortable!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1583991648557392/

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This is Public Health

Today, at our last class meeting of the semester (for HDFS 2367 Mon/Wed) a student shared a bumper sticker with me. Here it is!

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She said it seemed like a very good fit with the class we’ve shared and I agree. That’s why I am sharing the information with you now after checking out the website first, of course. I love it when students make connections with course material and share information (like this) with me.

THIS IS PUBLIC HEALTH

(from their website):

About

The This is Public Health (TIPH) campaign was created by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) to brand public health and raise awareness of how public health affects individuals, families, communities, and populations. The simple statement – This is Public Health – has proven to be a powerful tool in raising awareness about and support for public health efforts. Join this global effort to promote public health awareness.

Social

This is Public Health promotes public health awareness through social media, which allows users to interact with the campaign via Facebook or Instagram. Take photos of public health efforts, issues, or events and share your photos on social media by using #thisispublichealth. Stay up to date with photo contests, monthly challenges, and campaign activities by following us on social media.

Resources

Interested in getting involved? The resource page is where you’ll find materials to help you build your campaign. Traditionally, the campaign utilizes stickers with the slogan This is Public Health placed in strategic locations around communities to build awareness of the many ways in which public health impacts our well being. Other resources include campaign downloads, messaging, and videos.

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Because many of us have been socialized to say “I’m sorry” far too much

thank you versus i am sorry

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