Augsburg Supports Students After Capitol Attack

Trinity Whitesel, contributor
Photo of white supremacist waving a confederate flag during U.S. capitol incident, provided by CNN.

Much of the country has been in turmoil following the white supremacist attack on the US Capitol earlier this month. People with marginalized identities have particularly felt the impact.

The capitol attack ignited a series of white supremacist riots across the country. Amidst the uncertainty, Augsburg is determined to support its students, and has both currently available resources and upcoming events planned in order to do so.

Augsburg students, staff and faculty banded together after the 2020 Presidential Election to create the Post-election Committee. The goal of the committee is to plan and discuss how to best serve students during the turbulent election. The committee reconvened this month to expand their resources and support in light of the capitol incident.

“These are all things that can affect students’ mental health in the wake of January 6th,” said Sarah Combelliek-Bidney, professor and co-chair of the Political Science department. “It is important that we offer extra support and understanding for students during this time and that we recognize the importance of the ways students connect with each other and show they are not alone in their reactions.”

Hli Vang, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Pan-Asian Student Services, spoke to the ways that BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students might be especially vulnerable during this time. She urges all students to seek out any BIPOC or LGBTQIA+ faculty for support through one-on-one meetings, as well as encouraging students to attend upcoming Auggie Life events to connect with one another. 

The Augsburg Center for Wellness and Counseling (CWC) offers individual meetings with any of their six counselors – two of which identify as BIPOC – as well as an after-hours urgent phone counseling line. The online resources available on the CWC’s website range from more general topics, such as college mental health and mindfulness, to more targeted resources, such as BIPOC mental health and healing from racial trauma. 

Beth Carlson, the Assistant Director of the CWC, has expressed that these targeted resources are especially critical because of the ways that the capitol riot can be traumatic for BIPOC students. “As always, CWC wants to help students focus on self-care to get through this difficult time,” she said. 

The Sabo Center will be organizing a series of virtual events that center on social change and uplift the efforts of local activists with the first being hosted on Jan. 21 via Zoom. The event will include organizers and leaders doing work around community safety and advocacy for over-policed communities, leaders working for climate justice and advocates for underrepresented voices. 

There are sure to be more plans, resources and events in the near future, as Augsburg Day Student Government (ADSG) and Campus Life will be meeting this week to consider what else could be planned to support students. Whatever the future may hold for student support, Assistant Dean of Students Micheal Grewe says that the committee response will be “a collaborative effort among students and a number of departments.”