Students express complaints about election conversation

News Editor Kaitlyn Davis

Students have expressed concerns regarding conversations about the recent election results.

“Since the election on Tuesday, I have gotten numerous reports of students feeling disrespected, marginalized and unsafe,” said Carmen Burkhalter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in an email to faculty members. 

Burkhalter said students on all sides of the election have confided in faculty members that they are uneasy with some of the election-related conversations inside and outside the classroom. 

“We want to have a spirit of inclusiveness and value everybody’s opinion,” she said. “I would not want anyone to feel like they aren’t respected. I would want the students who feel threatened to speak up and make sure they talk to their faculty or their department chair or other resources on campus.

“If someone were inclined to want to be disrespectful to another person’s viewpoint they (should) remember that we’re all Americans, and we are people.”

Burkhalter said faculty members have concerns about how to deescalate heated conversations about the election.

Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields said in an email he wants students to know these conversations are welcomed if they are a part of healthy debate.

“I want all of you to know that you matter and that you are a part of a university community that supports, encourages and protects active and respective discourse,” Shields said. “We also expect tolerance and civility in line with our university values. We will not permit differences of opinion to descend into intolerance or intimidation.”

UNA police has not received reports about political threats, said Chief of University Police Kevin Gillilan.

If students are struggling with the topic, they have plenty of resources to utilize, Shields said.

Resources like the Women’s Center, Office of Diversity and Intuitional Equity, Student Counseling Services, Office of Student Affairs, University Health Services and the Student Government Association are all willing to listen to students, Shields said.