AASCU - American Association of State Colleges and Universities

05/07/2024 | News release | Archived content

Resources for Navigating Tense Times on Campus

Earlier this month, AASCU held a pulse check call with AASCU presidents and chancellors centered around navigating tense times on campus. Fifteen presidents participated in the conversation.

Experiences were varied across the country ranging from no protest activity on some campuses to lots of well-managed / peaceful activity and healthy dialogue. There were no reports of violence on AASCU campuses. Several presidents shared that years of building social capital with student leaders, faith based organizations, campus police and community organizations is paying off. Well- defined, communicated and implemented policies; open and ongoing communications and intense contingency planning were also noted. All of the campus leaders talked about focusing on safety first, creating space for dialogue, bridge building, leading with values and principles and centering their messages around inclusion, safety and belonging for all students. There was also much conversation around not losing focus of what is happening with most students on most campuses across the country - finals and commencement activities.

Resources Shared

  • AASCU's American Democracy Project (ADP)
  • PEN America's Campus Free Speech Guide (including case studies re: protests on campus)
  • Middle Tennessee State UniversityFree Speech Center
  • Kean UniversityWellness Center
  • Constructive Dialogue Institute provides training and resources for staff, faculty and student leaders to facilitate difficult conversations - in and out of the classroom.
  • Interfaith Americacollaborates with universities to develop curriculum resources and training programs that promote interfaith understanding and engagement among students. Their Talk Better Together campaign empowers students of diverse religious and non-religious backgrounds to organize events and projects promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation on college campuses nationwide
  • Institute for Citizens and Scholarsand Greater Good Science Centerat UC Berkeley offer resources that can be integrated into curricula to support students' well-being and prepare them for civic life, promoting critical thinking and social responsibility among university students.
  • The Witness Institute draws on the legacy and teachings of Elie Wiesel. The WitnessToolkit training facilitates meaningful discussions, promotes empathy and understanding, and empowers individuals to become more reflective, compassionate, and courageous, encouraging participants to bring their questions, engage in honest open sharing, and explore ways to build a more compassionate and courageous society.
  • Project Periclesencourages universities to integrate civic responsibility into the curriculum through project-based learning and community engagement initiatives. They provide curricular resources and support for faculty to embed civic engagement into their teaching practices.
  • BridgeUSAfacilitates student-led initiatives that encourage constructive dialogue and bridge-building across ideological divides. They support a network of student organizations across college campuses, providing resources, training, and frameworks to help students create events that foster open and respectful discussions on challenging topics.