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Here Are All The Ways Teachers Are Helping Students Cope With Election Results

"Trump has targeted specific groups for punishment... look out for each other."

Posted on November 9, 2016, at 4:51 p.m. ET

A lot of students across the country stayed up late on election night, and showed up to class emotionally wrought the next morning because Donald Trump had won.

My professor and multiple students came to class in tears this morning. People are hurting and scared. No election should feel like this

Teachers were not immune either, but some educators are trying to make the classroom a less stressful atmosphere for those upset about the election. One teacher emailed students the next day on ways to exercise self-care and activism.

The teacher gave students links to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Trans Lifeline, and the Trevor Project "if you find yourself in need of someone to talk to," they wrote.Links to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) and the ACLU were also included to encourage students to stay involved. The 21-year-old student, who asked to remain anonymous, told BuzzFeed News it was very hard for her to cope with the election results. "To know that people stand with us in solidarity and that our entire country doesn't feel the way Trump does is very relieving," she said of reading her professor's email.
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The teacher gave students links to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Trans Lifeline, and the Trevor Project "if you find yourself in need of someone to talk to," they wrote.

Links to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) and the ACLU were also included to encourage students to stay involved.

The 21-year-old student, who asked to remain anonymous, told BuzzFeed News it was very hard for her to cope with the election results.

"To know that people stand with us in solidarity and that our entire country doesn't feel the way Trump does is very relieving," she said of reading her professor's email.

A German professor from University of Massachusetts Amherst brought her dog into class with a sign that read, "Do you need a hug today?" The student told BuzzFeed News that the dog "was a really nice distraction."

My professor brought in her dog and look at the tag on it's collar 😩

The student, Owen Meyer, said they also talked about the election results in class. "It was really amazing," he said.

The professor, Katrin Bahr, told BuzzFeed News she brought her dog to create a more comfortable atmosphere to talk about the election.

"I knew that my dog would get the class cheered up because they were clearly devastated," she said.

Public schools in Boston are offering counseling and advice to students.

@BostonSchools Students, we ❤️you. You are intelligent & beautiful. We are here for you today & always. Please share your feelings today.

“As educators, we should use this opportunity as a teachable moment to have conversations with our students about the democratic process, how we can resolve differences and conflicts, and how we can address diverse and sometimes conflicting ideology," Superintendent Tommy Chang wrote in an open letter.

Some teachers are sharing simple messages in class.

My teacher just told us that no matter what our political views are, we have to be kind to one another. Please be kind to each other.

My teacher said be kind whether your candidate won or lost. There are alot of people being Vain Dicks right now on both sides.

While others have made calls to cancel or reschedule class so students could take time for themselves.

My professor just cancelled my stat test and told us to leave bc she knew how we were all feeling today. Little kindnesses.

Trevor Hoppe, an assistant professor at University of Albany, rescheduled a sociology exam. "Please take care of yourself in this challenging time," he wrote in an email to students.

My professor cancelled the test cause of trump #kindalit

"Many of [the students] have never experienced this kind of profound disappointment and it has left them with an unsettling uncertainty about the future of our country," Hoppe told BuzzFeed News.

"I think recognizing the extraordinary nature of this experience by making a similarly extraordinary accommodation — in this case, delaying our regularly scheduled exam today — is just the right thing to do as an educator," he added.

Professor Alan Peel of the University of Maryland also decided to reschedule a test, telling BuzzFeed News he felt a 9 a.m. test was "unfair" to students.

"In a class of 150 plus, there was a good chance individuals would be poorly affected," Peel said.

And a University of Texas at Austin professor said he "wanted to encourage students to look out for each other" after what he called "a backlash vote."

woke up to this email from my professor.

Alexis Gauvin, one of Tang's students, told BuzzFeed News she "was unable to express my emotions in words about the election last night."

"However, when reading my professor's email, he said exactly what was on my mind and in my heart," she commented.

One professor at San Jacinto College, however, delivered the news to students with a bit of humor.

my proff really cancelled class, im shook

The student told Buzzfeed News the email was a total surprise.

"I didn't think she'd cancel class, but I could tell the outcome of the election affected her," the student said.

And finally, a student at Wesleyan University sent BuzzFeed News a letter from the school's president sent to the student body an email titled "Now, More Than Ever: Vigilance and Inclusivity":

Dear friends,

Early this morning when it became clear that Donald Trump would become our president-elect, my thoughts shifted from the good of the country to the good of the University. An international student here, and a friend, texted Kari to ask if the University would be alright. Yes, we will. This election has heightened feelings of alienation and vulnerability. The pain of targeted groups is real, and we must acknowledge it and work to mitigate its effects. But we will be alright because we will continue to strive to build the inclusive community that rejects white supremacy, bigotry and fear; we will be alright because we will express our care for one another in a context of fairness.

It just so happens that in my class on Virtue and Vice this week, we are focusing on how some artists retreated from the public realm after the crushing failures of the revolutions of 1848 in Europe. Around that time, Karl Marx wrote: "Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves." But many great poets, novelists and painters grew bitterly ironic about making history and the possibilities of progress. Recognizing that there are no guarantees about who was going to end up on the "right side of history," they became cynical about change, detaching themselves from any possibility for a meaningful work in the public sphere.

My friends, we must resist any temptation to abandon the public sphere to those who would return to a past in which people of color, women and queer folk were even more systematically excluded from access to basic rights. As engaged participants in the polity, we have to remain vigilant to protect the people and values we care about. This is not the time to close one's eyes or to stop listening. We need more conversation across political and cultural differences - and we need new modes of engagement. Faculty, staff and students will be thinking hard about this in the coming days and weeks. We must continue to work to defend those who are disenfranchised and oppressed, and to create opportunities for greater numbers of people.

Cynicism and irony are too easy a response to disappointment. Regardless of political affiliation, we can work together—beyond the university—to solve specific problems and create opportunities. And here on campus, we will create a community that offers opportunities to all our students, staff and faculty to thrive, to be challenged, to be at home.

Michael S. Roth
President

President Michael Roth confirmed the email and explained that the "somber" mood on campus compelled him to write it.

"The mood is somber on campus, to say the least," he said. "But we must turn sadness and disappointment into more effective political engagement on behalf of things we care about."

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