The fear and uncertainty that accompanies widespread illness can lead to many reactions. Members of the university community may have friends and family overseas who are affected and may be anxious or sad about the situation. They may also be overwhelmed by the volume of media coverage, both through news channels and social media.
As a university community known for caring about each other, we all need to be understanding and compassionate toward people who may be affected by the news. We should also be aware of and avoid broad generalizations and assumptions about China and people from Asian countries. Classifying Asian people as dangerous or sick, or making assumptions about a person’s nationality based on their physical appearance, reinforces long-standing histories of xenophobia and racism (whether intentional or not). Please treat all members of our community with respect and empathy as our university and the entire world deals with this challenging and evolving situation.
During this time of heightened anxiety and swift transition for our community, we must reject online behavior that vilifies, demeans, or disrespects others. COVID-19 is not specific to any ethnicity, race, or community. It is important that all members of our community feel included and supported. Students, faculty, and staff who experience bias related to race, national origin, or other protected identity are encouraged to complete a Bias Incident Report Form.
We ask that all members of the UM community be especially vigilant in supporting one another – whether on campus or remote, sick or well, majority or underrepresented – and that they condemn any discriminatory acts or hate speech targeting any identity group or community.
The Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement (CICCE) and Office of Global Engagement (OGE) staffs are available to discuss concerns about COVID-19 bias.
Additional resources are outlined below: