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The Smitty way — civility for the election

Paul Smith's College sits on the shore of Lower St. Regis Lake. (Photo provided by Paul Smith's College)

Dear colleagues and students:

Voting is the touchstone of our democracy — so I want to encourage all to vote. 

As everyone knows, this election season is very contentious with strong emotions on both sides. However, this year in our Smitty Pledge, we vowed to be “a good neighbor, ally, and friend.” 

While the formal election will be over on Tuesday, Nov. 3, the country may not know the presidential results that night — some are saying in may take a week or more for all ballots to be counted. 

In this uncertain time, I want to remind us all (from our pledge) to: 

¯ Treat all members of our community with dignity and respect. 

¯ Extend a welcoming hand to individuals who appear to be feeling lost or out of place. 

¯ Participate in efforts to advance social justice, diversity and inclusion. 

¯ Refrain from participating in exclusionary activities. 

¯ Prevent our own biases from impeding access and opportunities for all. 

¯ Bring positive energy, enthusiasm and fun to our interactions. 

¯ Treat our campus as an aggression-free zone, and expect everyone else to do the same. 

¯ Recognize that many people are coping with anxiety or stress, and avoid increasing their burden. 

¯ Offer to listen, support and provide assistance when we think we can help.

The college will be hosting a number of activities this week into next week. The members of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council have come up with a color-coded system so that you can pick activities that best fit your comfort level around election dialogue: 

¯ Red — Election-free activity

¯ Yellow — Election talk may be taking place

¯ Green — Election talk is encouraged.

Here is a listing of events to watch out for with more details to come soon: 

¯ Oct. 30 at noon, sponsored by the Association of St. Lawrence Valley Colleges, our campus community has the opportunity to take part in a virtual speaker series. The ASLVC has contracted Dr. Carol Anderson, a leader on anti-racism and minority voter advocacy. — Green 

On Nov 3:

¯ Courier lounge, open election watch — Green

¯ LMS, lounge open — Yellow 

¯ Bobcat, 7 to 9 p.m., art therapy and snacks — Red 

¯ Adirondack Room, movie — Red

¯ Diversity Office open, 7 to 10 p.m. — Yellow 

I am confident that our campus community will participate in our civic duty of voting while practicing individual respect and support for a diversity of opinions. 

Jon C. Strauss is interim president of Paul Smith’s College. This message was sent to the college’s students, faculty and staff, and some recipients liked it so much they asked the college to share it in the Enterprise.

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