The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and social unrest are disproportionately felt by marginalized students. These communities are more vulnerable in emergencies, and higher education institutions need to support them appropriately to ensure no one is overlooked.
In a roundtable discussion, psychologists, mental health experts, and a college student talked about how campuses can better support these communities in 2021 and beyond. Here’s a summary of what they had to say.
Understanding what students are experiencing
Students are experiencing grief from a variety of environmental conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors are experiencing the loss of graduation traditions. First-year students are experiencing the loss of social development. And all students are experiencing the loss of social groups and on-campus support systems.
“We’re grieving in the fact that we’re losing our experiences,” said Veronica Mixon, a senior student and president of the African American Studies Org at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We can’t meet anymore unless it’s over Zoom and students are Zoomed out and tired of having to be online … and we’re still trying to manage the hat of a student while we manage our own mental health, while we manage social media trauma with racial injustices and things of that nature.”