ACC Provides a Safe Space in the Aftermath of the 2020 Election

Arapahoe Community College offers a virtual safe place for students and faculty to recover from the aftermath of the 2020 election.


Image via Photo Credit ACC Graphic

POST-ELECTION REFLECTION Thursday, November 5, 2020

Donna DeBacco, Reporter

United We Stand Divided We Fall, lyrics from a song by Brotherhood of Man. Nothing challenged that sentiment and those few words more than the election of 2020, which wrenched the emotional guts of our country’s citizens. In an article by the Associated Press, “Except for the Civil War, I don’t think we’ve lived through any time as perilous as this in terms of the divisions,” said historian Barbara Perry, the director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Finding common ground, having civil discourse was like searching for gold at the end of the rainbow. Few people felt understood or heard. Democrat, Independent, or Republican, election 2020, clogged the arteries in the heart of our nation.

On Nov. 5, 2020, Quill Phillips, Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer at Arapahoe Community College, Jennifer Jones, Program Chair of Astronomy, Arapahoe Community College and Jennifer Husum, Associate Dean of Equity and Compliance, Arapahoe Community College, invited ACC students and faculty to participate in a virtual Post-Election Reflection forum.

Phillips welcomed participants. She advised everyone that the forum’s purpose was not to debate one another but to share a space where people could “freely” express their feelings about the election. She established the parameters letting all know it was to be a respectful exchange of thoughts and a way to let the pent-up anxieties over the election be shared. Phillip’s clear direction was this was a place of “listening to understand rather than listening to respond.” She then set up break-out groups where small pods of people could discuss their experience, stating that anything said would remain privileged in the virtual room. Phillips re-united all 30 or so participants giving everyone who wanted to share what their group discussed the ability to do so.

Phillips closed the meeting thanking everyone for “engaging in what seemed like a very healthy dialog,” saying, “we can do it, right?” She suggested people stay in touch and “check-in” with each other.

Students are encouraged to reach out to the Dean of Students Office to access free, confidential counseling services if they are struggling in any way and need support. Students can reach the Dean of Student’s office and additional resources through ACC’s website.