Email Template: Consideration of Current Events

A colleague drafted an email template in consideration of the current events, and I would like to share it with everyone:

Black Lives Matter sign holders, protesters"Dear Professor,

I hope this email finds you well. I am a non-Black student in your class, and am reaching out for support with balancing academics and the weight of various world events occurring all at the same moment. In addition to the global threat of COVID-19 and the ways it continues to impact our community, I am also writing to raise concerns for students, specifically Black students, impacted by protests across the nation.

During this pandemic, students lack the necessary resources for supporting their wellbeing and academic performance as they are dispersed throughout the world with differing access to resources. This disparity is especially felt by students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, students with housing insecurity, students with dependents, and students dealing with their mental health. Given recent events, we bring special attention to the hardships Black students and faculty are currently enduring, undoubtedly making it harder to focus on academic work. Personally, I am struggling with trying to find the motivation to study or do homework for this class let alone any of my four other classes with the fight for equality being so prevalent and, in my opinion, much more important than academics. I could only imagine how difficult this must be for your African American/Black students.

The lives of many of your students are on the line because of anti-Black violence and it is imperative that we have the freedom to protest for their safety and further the movement without fear of failing or falling behind in classes. I am having trouble focusing on anything other than this and, at times, do not have the emotional capacity to complete schoolwork.

Very few professors have expressed concern for the health and wellbeing of their students, so I ask that you please understand the trauma of this being something that plagues a person of color’s mind every day. It is not something that can be walked away from even after our most basic demands have been met. Black students are deeply hurting. Please acknowledge the impact of these trying times and consider making academic accommodations for the entire class, not just me or individual students who reach out to you.

This may look like:

-Proper academic accommodations for Black students, including flexibility.

-Proactively reaching out to your class to extend/remind students about academic support.

-Attentive and compassionate responses to individual requests for academic support.

-Extensions on assignment deadlines when needed.

-Extensions to final projects, final exams, and homework and zero penalties for late assignments, exams, and projects.

-A transparent review of the definition of the P / NP threshold.

-Immediate action, compassion, and statements sensitive to all identities.

-Encouraging other faculty to follow your example.

-We also urge you to provide professors and course assistants clear messaging and guidance on how to express solidarity and support to Black students.

Respectfully,"

BLM Peaceful Protesters, holding signsAs a reminder, “If you’re not sure how to respond, LISTEN. If you’re not sure what to read, RESEARCH. If you’re not sure what to do, DONATE. ‘Not sure’ becomes ‘not my problem’. It’s not enough to be ‘not sure’ when racism is still taking lives." - Ruby PH (@irlrubyph)