In response to the current political and societal climate, Brookdale is beginning a new program called Safe Haven. While final details of the program and training for faculty and staff are being completed, this information is available to let you know about this new initiative. Please check back here often for more details as the initiative nears readiness.
What is a Safe Haven Session (SHS)?
It is a session with a Brookdale faculty or staff member, conducted during the faculty member’s office hours, that has been requested by a student. In the session, students can clarify and discuss experiences related to discrimination and feelings of personal discomfort, anxiety, anger, and/or insecurity. The sessions will be compassionate and faculty’s and designated staff’s main role is to be a good listener and to share available Brookdale resources and policies with students.
Faculty and other Brookdale employees will not serve as therapists, counselors, or legal experts. They are compassionate advocates carrying forward the message that Brookdale is inclusive and that Brookdale cares about all of our students. They will share the Student & Employee Support link on the Brookdale website with students, ensuring that students are provided with access to the resources and policies offered by the College.
What happens during a Safe Haven Session?
Safe Haven Sessions are compassionate and informational only and do not provide legal advice, counseling, or therapy.
It is place where students can reflect on an offensive or threatening experience and analyze it and see if there is a need to do more and therefore request a referral. Or, students may be satisfied with using the session to come to a clearer understanding of the dynamics of the situation and to figure out how they might respond if the situation occurs again.
Each individual experience is different, and our goal is to provide support and relevant information, where available, in response to the many different concerns and conflicts that can arise regarding gender, race, orientation, immigration, mental health, partisanship and more, in this time of national and societal uncertainty and anxiety.
The SHS is a part of a strategy to ensure that Brookdale is an inclusive place where students who are, or feel that they are, not being treated adequately or fairly, can find a quiet place where they can talk it over with a faculty member or designated staff person.
If the SHS session is not enough to reduce discomfort, fears or concerns, the faculty or staff member will refer the student to the appropriate person or program at the College.
Who can request a Safe Haven Session?
Any student who perceives that they have been the victim of unjust treatment or discrimination, or may have been the recipient of unacceptable prejudicial treatment regarding their status as a human being and would like to talk about it, can request an SHS.
Please remember that prejudice is an attitude and discrimination is an act. Both can be hurtful but the former is difficult to legislate and often requires education and a further need for understanding. While the latter, discrimination, merits taking procedural or legal action. An SHS may help students in figuring out this distinction.
It is important to note that the intersection of several of the “isms” listed below may be at the heart of a student’s concern. They are likely to include, but are not limited to, sexism, racism, ageism, anti-Semitism, heterosexism, classism, partisanship, stigmatizing, or creating discomfort of those with a disability, physical or mental.
What are the specific changes in discrimination and immigration that we can expect under our new presidency?
Quite frankly, we do not know. We have seen an uptick in uncivil behavior across the country. As educators and educated citizens, we perceive a need to not only acknowledge this trend but also to engage strategies that will not let it get out of control and which will lead to positive outcomes. More specifically we need to reassure members of the campus community that we respect each other and are committed to an inclusive Brookdale. We are committed to continue to focus on civil ways of dealing with conflicts and building bridges across cultural differences. When possible, we will encourage students to channel their fears, anger, or anxiety into positive action by joining with Brookdale clubs and/or community groups already working on positive actions.
Who can conduct a Safe Haven Session?
Any faculty or staff member who volunteers to do this and (i) understands that Brookdale is not a Sanctuary College, (ii) is committed to treating students in a compassionate manner and (iii) has received the folder of guidelines and training from the Diversity Office in Human Resources can conduct a Safe Haven Session.
Faculty will not collect any identifying data on students with whom they have conducted an SHS. They will fill out an SHS form and record the date and the type(s) of issues that were addressed during the session. These forms are intended to gather some general data on what issues our students are facing. These forms may provide some guidance with respect to allocation of future resources and how we might move forward as various factors change.