Post-Election Resource Guide
As Election Day approaches, we would like to provide resources to assist the campus community in promoting strong dialogue and civic engagement. As Chancellor Jones said in a recent message to the campus community, “Whatever the outcomes of this election, the deep divisions and differing perspectives we have seen will not simply disappear. But elections do offer an opportunity to step back, recalibrate and get a fresh start in finding common ground on issues that matter to every single one of us” (Massmail: “Elections and Our Values”). Below is a collection of on-campus resources and events, as well as external resources, that you may find useful as you navigate inter-political dialogue through your campus role.
- Counseling Center Paraprofessionals Tuesday @ 7 Workshop “Coping with Socio-Political Stress” – November 3 at 7 p.m.
- Spurlock Museum hosts “Debates, Decisions, Demands—The Political Landscape of Illinois” – November 5 at 4 p.m.
- University YMCA Friday Forum: “The Election Is Over; Where Do We Go From Here?” – Friday, November 6 at 12 p.m.
- Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations “2020 Election Programming Series.”
- Illinois Student Government and Student Advocacy Coalition Fall 2020 Political Dialogue Series – October 27 at 6:30 p.m.
- Center for Social & Behavioral Science “Panel Discussion about the 2020 Presidential Election” – October 29 at 2 p.m.
- College of Law panel “What Happens if State Election Results are Contested After November 3rd?” – October 29 at 4:15 p.m.
- Krannert Art Museum hosts “Pressing Issues Political Postcard Workshop” – October 29 at 4:30 p.m.
Resources for Processing and Dialogue
The election has raised many important issues related to issues of equity and inclusion. Consequently, the election process and election results may provoke strong feelings and impact our campus community. Campus professionals may wish to hold spaces for students and/or other professionals to process the election results.
Preparing for After the Election
Regardless of the outcomes, the 2020 Election may provoke strong reactions. Additionally, some elections may not be decided on November 3rd, as some localities wait for mail-in and drop-off ballots to be counted. This will not just impact University of Illinois students, but all our campus community members. Providing immediate space for processing and engagement may be important as individuals consider the short- and long-term election results.
- Individuals and groups may be impacted differently. Consider creating specific and general processing space.
- Utilize existing groups, like classrooms, registered student organizations, and residence halls to allow community members to process together. This should be optional, as not everyone will wish to participate in this experience.
- Provide space for individual conversations by utilizing drop-in office hours for students (or campus professionals) to come talk with trusted staff or faculty.
- Members of our campus community may experience strong reactions based on whether “their candidate” won. Some national organizations even recommend creating specific processing spaces for those pleased with the election outcomes and those who may be upset with the election outcomes, followed by a structured dialogue between the two groups.
- Don’t assume the political perspectives of students who may wish to process. Students from a variety of political views may wish to find a space to come together with other students.
- Be prepared to provide campus academic support and mental health resources for individuals who may need it. These may include the Student Assistance Center, the Counseling Center, or Faculty/Staff Assistance Services.
You may end up facilitating difficult yet sensitive conversations after the election. Below are some tips for a successful conversation.
- Provide guidelines and set the purpose in ways that encourage everyone to participate and engage, such as these guidelines provided by James Madison University. This site also includes some potential questions to begin the conversation.
- Create space for faculty/staff to process the results on their own, allowing for them to process their reactions in their own space while also preparing them to better support students.
- Create space for individuals to share their own unique feelings and reactions.
- Identify trusted campus professionals and provide resources to be able to have discussions with students and colleagues.
- Avoid oversimplification or generalizations of “the other” in conversations (“All democrats believe…” or “All Republicans want to…”). Encourage participants to speak from their personal experiences.
- Model dialogue and tension in productive, respectful ways – both within and outside of the dialogue.
- As a facilitator, remember that you do not have to fix anyone’s feelings or beliefs. Just provide the space for individuals to hear each other and feel heard.
- Consider what needs you are hearing from students and colleagues and make a plan for how you will address those needs over the next weeks and semester.
Resources for Leading Post-Election Discussions
Below are several resources that provide additional facilitation tips and strategies for leading non-partisan conversations.
- Facilitating Difficult Election Conversations (James Madison University)
- Readiness for Discussing Democracy in Supercharged Political Times (Tufts University Institute for Democracy & Higher Education)
- Facilitating Political Discussions: A Facilitator Training Workshop Guide (Tufts University Institute for Democracy & Higher Education)
- Post-Election Discussions in the Online Classroom (Barnard College)