(Note: A similar message was sent to all faculty and staff)
If you are looking forward to having completely unscheduled time on Monday and Tuesday, read no further. If you are looking for opportunities to engage in community on Monday and Tuesday, please check out the posted spreadsheet of optional activities, at the link below.
When the faculty met on Thursday, it was to recognize that this time of year is always stressful, but that this semester is particularly so—more so than many of us have seen in decades at Harvey Mudd. We know that many of you and the people you care about have had a difficult year and that your support systems are seriously strained. Additionally, this semester has seen intense activism and a call to address long-standing issues of inequity and workload, yet many of us on this campus don’t feel we have the time or space to give those issues the attention they deserve.
We therefore decided to cancel classes and scale back end-of-semester work. We did so not to bring everything to a halt or to disengage, but to provide some flexibility for each member of our community to better engage in what they want, how they want. We also know that these few weeks won’t magically fix things that require long-term time, attention, and resources; but we want to provide space for everyone to engage in a way that feels sustainable until the end of the semester.
During the Thursday meeting, many faculty expressed the desire to create opportunities for interaction with students. Indeed, for all of us, interacting with Mudd students is a source of tremendous satisfaction and joy, and it was viewed that this might be beneficial for some of our students.
The Faculty Executive Committee, Department Chairs Committee, DSA, ASHMC, and some individual faculty members have put together some optional light programming for Monday and Tuesday, for those who are interested (fully recognizing that others will want unscheduled time, which we wholeheartedly support as well). These activities were selected with input from the ASHMC Executive Board, diversity director, and leaders of the diversity clubs. The rationale for this is:
- Some students benefit from being in community and engaging in structured activities, rather than being in isolation.
- Some students want to see faculty action on the issues that have been raised. Some of the programming suggestions give us the opportunity as a community to engage with these issues.
- We would like to take some steps towards rebuilding our community.
- Some students feel that by cancelling classes, we have removed educational opportunities, so this is a mechanism to replace some of that curriculum with a different learning opportunity for those who elect.
The full collection of events can be viewed at Optional Activities for Monday/Tuesday.
There are separate tabs for Monday and Tuesday. We want to draw your attention to a few events in particular:
- Faculty-only diversity workshop: The faculty have hired a facilitator for a 2-hour workshop on diversity on Monday afternoon.
- DSA is hosting “Alfresco Community Lunches” on both Monday and Tuesday outside Hoch-Shanahan. You can bring your own lunch or buy your food to-go from Hoch (paper clamshells will be free) and mingle outside with faculty, staff and students.
- Prof. Fred Leichter will be hosting a core brainstorming session on Tuesday from 10-12 to generate ideas for improving the core.
- Several departments will be hosting department socials.
- OID is showing several movies.
We want to reiterate that there is no expectation that students should attend any of these events. We are offering them to those students for whom some structure and opportunity to interact in community is beneficial. We fully understand and support those students who wish not to participate at this time; indeed several faculty will also be using the days off for their own self-care.
Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.
– DCC and FEC