Student Life Office

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Dear Reed Student Body,

On Friday, March 25, President Audrey Bilger and Dean of Faculty Kathy Oleson communicated about the racist and xenophobic rhetoric displayed in a video on social media of Professor Paul Currie. I recognize and understand the impact of such a video on the psychological and physical safety of you, our students, and the larger Reed community. The behavior displayed by Professor Currie is antithetical to what we believe and value as a college. It is unacceptable and does not demonstrate the ethical behaviors the college expects of members of our community. 

As a college, we support and honor the contributions that undocumented and Latinx communities bring to our country and to the Reed community. The perspectives and experiences these two communities bring should be valued and uplifted. You should not be subjected to the behaviors of others that inflict pain because of you who you are, be it unconsciously or consciously.  

The visceral reality of such rhetoric takes a toll on you and certainly impacts how individuals show up in any environment, let alone a collegiate environment where students should feel safe from these types of disparaging comments. As you navigate the coming weeks at Reed, I encourage you to leverage the strategies noted below for self-care. For community members who do not identify as undocumented or Latinx, I ask that you think about ways you can support your peers during this difficult time. 

If the Student Life Office can provide support and/or resources, please do not hesitate to reach out to


Dr. K

Karnell McConnell-Black, Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Life

Reed College

SELF-CARE STRATEGIES (Self-care is the practice of protecting one’s own well-being, especially during periods of stress.)

  • Limit the amount of time you spend using social media or reading the news. Before you look at social media or visit a news site, ask yourself: “What am I hoping to get out of this experience?” Let that question help you decide whether or not you want to proceed.

  • Set boundaries and curate a positive or affirming social media feed.

  • Engage in self-care activities such as exercise or meditation. Participate in a hobby that is totally separate from news or politics. Losing yourself in an activity can be a healthy escape.

  • Surround yourself with trusted people, like friends or family. If you need to, ask them to avoid talking about political topics.

  • Inhale for four seconds, exhale for four seconds. Count your breaths. Relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. The simplest of actions, like enjoying a moment of silence, can help reset your body and mind.

  • Do some prep work. Take care of essential chores (e.g., grocery shopping or laundry) before a stressful week.

  • Connect with your professors. They are best situated to help you navigate your assignments and deadlines at this point of the semester. Be realistic about your current mental and emotional capacity and plan accordingly with their assistance.

  • If you have a job, ask your supervisor for what you need. Do you need time off? An extension on a project? To attend a virtual meeting with your camera off? It’s okay to ask.

COMMUNITY CARE STRATEGIES (“Community care is a commitment to contributing in a way that leverages one’s relative privilege while balancing one’s needs. It’s trusting that your community will have you when you need support, and knowing you can be trusted to provide the same.” — NAKITA VALERIO)

  • Invest in relationships and friendships. Check-in with friends and community members. Ask “How can I support you?”

  • Support mutual-aid efforts. Share what you have—a car, time, money, writing skills, empathy, or art supplies. Any and all of these can be incredibly useful resources for others.

  • Lend a hand to someone in need. For example, give someone a ride to the store or walk someone’s dog when they are in a bind.

  • Engage with others in compassionate and nonjudgmental ways.

  • Educate yourself about systemic racism and respect the boundaries and spaces of BIPOC.