Tyler Clementi Center’s Call for Guest Blog Submissions

The Tyler Clementi Center believes that all students should have the opportunity to go to school in an environment that is free of bias, harassment, bullying, sexual violence and peer aggression. Want to help us transform the student experience? We’re looking for Rutgers University faculty, staff and students who are able to write informative, thought-provoking and compelling guest blog submissions for our Fall 2017 blog issue. If your submission is selected for the blog you will be contacted by the Center and receive $100.

CALL FOR BLOG SUBMISSIONS

At the Tyler Clementi Center, we believe that all students should have the opportunity to go to school in an environment that is free of bias, harassment, bullying, sexual violence and peer aggression. Want to help us transform the student experience?
The Tyler Clementi Center is looking for informative, thought-provoking and compelling guest blog submissions for our Fall 2017 blog issue. If your submission is selected for our blog you will be contacted by the Center and receive $100*. The theme for the fall is Creating Community and we are asking for submissions that talk about topics such as: being the “other” on campus, navigating bias, staying connected to your faith community, coping with loneliness, etc. We welcome un-themed submissions as well, i.e. Greek rush, getting involved in student organizations, being a student and a parent, making a difference on campus, etc.

Purpose:
Students across the nation encounter many stressors that impact their social and academic adjustment to college life, sense of belonging on campus, overall health and academic persistence. The purpose of the bi weekly blog is to engage in an on-going dialogue about student wellness, campus climate and university responsiveness to the needs of all students- paying particular attention to LGBQ and gender non-conforming students, students of color, women, students with disabilities, immigrant and undocumented students, students of faith, and many others.

What we are looking for:
We want submissions that raise awareness about the unique issues affecting stigmatized populations, how students and professionals can address these issues, strategies for responding to bias and harassment, and learning about the unique ways to improve campus climate. We want to amplify the voices of students and professionals, engage in a national dialogue about the challenges facing our students and campus communities, and share information on how we can work together to create more affirming spaces for all students.

Target Audience:
 College professionals at universities across the USfor professionals while keeping in mind that articles will be promoted over social media and are also intended to be shared with college students
 Traditional age college students
 Adult learners (non-traditional college students)

Blog Submissions Should Be:
 – Submitted as a Word document along with a brief, third person bio to Nikita Correa nikita.correa@rutgers.edu
 – Between 20-600 words and with original pictures* (20 word sample go.rutgers.edu/7qk5uz 600 word sample go.rutgers.edu/31aq5h52)
 – Humorous, serious or anywhere in between
 – Features of who is helping  improving the campus climate and/or how we can do a better job
 – Cited properly if using quotes, images, etc.
 – Previously unpublished and original pieces that speak to the student experience
 – Timely and focused on issues that are impacting millennials
 – Written for professionals with the intention of being shared with college students
 – Aligned with at least one of the 8 Pillars of Student Wellness
8 pillars of wellness

Please take a look at our attached sample blog to get a feel for the type of articles we’re looking for. Again, if your submission is selected for our blog you will be contacted by the Tyler Clementi Center and receive $100*. It would be great to showcase a variety of both student, faculty and staff voices so please share this with your networks.

Submission deadline: Thursday, February 16, 2017

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* The $100 incentive will come through payroll as “extra pay”
* All images must be clear and in the permissible public domain within the perimeters of copyright law.
* A photo release will need to be signed for any pictures featuring students.
* All blog submissions, photos, GIFs, etc. will be retained as property of the Tyler Clementi Center to be used in any capacity for the purpose of promoting the blog and website.

sample

Sample Blog Post:

Fostering Dialogue Across Ideological Silos: Students in a Post-Election America
Author: Maren Greathouse- Director, Tyler Clementi Center

As we begin a new academic year, we welcome new students to come through our doors and join our communities. These students will bring with them ideas, energy and excitement, ready to learn new things and grow intellectually. Simultaneously, these students will also bring with them a diverse cross-section of lived experiences, divergent values and perspectives about the world around them. As campus professionals, we have the opportunity to impress upon our students the value of these differences: the complexity they bring to our conversations, the impact they have on our intellectual and psychosocial development, and the expansion of our world view.

As administrators, faculty and staff, how do we leverage these differences for holistic student development? After all, simply assembling a diverse student body is not the central goal of our work. A heterogeneous community does not guarantee meaningful cross-cultural engagement. To truly build cohesive and engaged campus communities, we must engage students across their divergent points-of-entry, teach our students the difference between dialogue and debate, and encourage them to embrace the unfamiliar, the unsettling, the incongruous. When we do not, we encourage divisiveness, aggression, and hostility.

The balance between inclusivity and censorship has always been a key challenge within contemporary higher education. Debates abound over the boundaries of academic freedom and the value of safe spaces in the classroom, the aggregate impact of microaggressions and the criteria for bias incident reporting on campus. Universities issue statements urging students to reconsider culturally offensive and appropriative practices, from the racial-stereotype themed college party to the Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume– while their faculty challenge a student’s right to be “offensive.” It is clear that while universities have the common goal of higher learning, we are deeply divided in how we define and go about it.

So, where do we go from here?

The perspectives of every student- whether these represent ideas, opinions or attitudes- inform the way they relate to others and the contributions they make to the overall campus climate. As university professionals, we have a vested interest in fostering perspectives that reflect an ethic of care for others and contribute to an overall campus climate where all of our students feel respected by their peers. If a student organization requests university funding to bring a white supremacist organization to campus, as many have over the past year, does that pursuit reflect an ethic of care towards others? Does it role model for our students how we expect them to treat others? And how does it impact the overall campus climate? Regardless of its impact, is a pursuit of this nature guaranteed under that university’s protection of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas if it results in the defaming of significant segments of the student population on campus?

Academic freedom does not grant carte blanche to those promoting ideas intended to defame, harass or intimidate. Furthermore, when university administrators grant these requests in the spirit of academic freedom, we implicitly validate the merit of these ideologies and their perpetuation in higher education. There is nothing of academic value in this rhetoric. Our students do not need to be assaulted to understand political ideologies that are different from their own; and there are far more ethically responsible ways to introduce students to ideas they find unsettling. Instead, we must challenge our students to think critically about their ideas and the impact they have on others. This is not censorship. This is not the act of pushing a “liberal agenda” within higher education. Isn’t mutual respect and consideration for the dignity and worth of others a universal value? We must not be afraid to teach our students the practice of socially responsible citizenship. This is the premise upon which public higher education was built.

We have an ethical obligation to teach students the value of difference, the opportunities that come from conflict and the tools of transformative dialogue. When we embolden our students to challenge one another in the spirit of learning and mutual consideration, we can create spaces where respectful disagreement is possible and learning is powerful. Mutuality destabilizes defensiveness, staves off the urge to disengage or discredit, and fosters empathy and active listening. Mutuality facilitates engagement with the uncomfortable, whether those differences be political, social, moral or intellectual.

We have the opportunity to set this tone from the moment our students set foot on campus. The Tyler Clementi Center encourages all colleges and universities to adopt the #Day1 Campaign, an on-going project that promotes institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion. This campaign invites students to pledge formal commitment to creating an inclusive campus climate, engaging others with an ethic of care and challenging people and practices that harass, humiliate or perpetuate bias on campus. To download the #Day1 Kit for colleges/universities, go to Tyler Clementi Foundation Resources for Colleges and Universities.

While it is just one step, it creates a path towards the greater good.

The Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers University is a research institute studying bias, peer aggression and the impact of campus climate on stigmatized populations within higher education.