by Addison James
"Subject Line Safe Zones"
From: Addison James
To: Faculty-All > Staff-All > Student-All
Safe Zone for Compassion & Caring: Woodrow Wilson Hall Room 2001
Greetings campus colleagues, staffulty, and students.
In light of violence jumping off across the nation and world, as well as acts of incivility and racism on our own hallowed campus, it has been decided to create a Safe Zone for our university community to connect and reaffirm our humanness. I realize Woodrow Wilson Hall is an ironic choice for this locale, seeing as how he was a vehement racist, but it was the only available spot with short notice. Despite the looming white-patriarchy, please feel inclined to stop by any time this week, refreshments will be provided.
This event is sponsored by the Division of Student Safe Spaces, the Sophomore Social Justice Theater Troupe, the Office of Counseling, and the office of the Chief Diversity Officer, as well as the office of Office Equity and Conformity.
Members of the Division of Student Safe Spaces will present their research detailing how Safe Zones have significantly decreased incidents of conflicting ideas and hurt feelings. The Sophomore Social Justice Theater Troupe will be directing “organic” dialog about how to foster socially acceptable art, so as to not offend any ethnic group, gender, or socio-economic class. The Office of Counseling will be available for private consultations (please bring your student ID or Health Care cards, so the proper paperwork can be submitted for payment purposes). The office of the Chief Diversity Officer will be on hand to dialog about your concerns with diversity on campus. Unfortunately, the Chief Diversity Officer will not be available, as he will be competing in a polo match in the Hamptons. The office of Office Equity and Conformity would like you to bring detailed lists of any noted discrepancies in office size, color, or lighting. Also, come prepared to name names of any offices that contain offensive furnishings, artwork, or plants.
To speak to our own issues of macro-hypocrisy, the university realizes there are issues and positions in need of revision. As former General Manager of the Washington Redskins, President White is familiar with how to handle public racism scandals. Thus, the dismissal of the student football players for racist chants was comported with the utmost grace and care. The media has decried the lack of a university hearing, but we resolutely affirm President White’s decision to deal with all instances of racism with severity, rapidity, and clarity; there is no time for jurisprudence when YouTube and Snapchat so clearly revealed the culture of racism running amok within the football program. Please do not let this deter you from attending the game this weekend though, as we will be the ESPN game of the week.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share a horrid tale of micro-aggression from a neighboring university. During Un-Named U’s dorm orientations, an R.A. conducted a Sensitivity Training with First Years. The R.A. posed the question, “Have you ever been the victim of micro-aggression?” When one student found it particularly difficult to come up with an incident, the R.A. explained how micro-aggressions were everyday verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights, snubs, insults or other acts of intolerance. Finally, the First Year said, “One time someone identified me as, ‘The dumb blonde girl.’” The R.A. did acknowledge how ‘dumb blonde’ was micro-aggressive, but the R.A. failed to address the most glaring micro-aggression, ‘girl.’ To suppose one’s gender is supremely micro-aggressive. Needless to say, the R.A. was summarily transferred to Un-Named U’s Siberian Study Abroad program. The proper R.A. response should have been, “That must have hurt when someone assumed you identified as female. It also must have been painful to hear your hair color being proclaimed publically as blonde. I apologize for the heterosexist and transphobic culture that wrought such devastating language to bear upon you.”
This is intended to be an on-going series, so take this opportunity to gather, (re)connect, and affirm one another. The Safe Zone will also include a space replete with coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and videos of puppies, so do not feel obligated to bring your own infantalia.
Thank you for your consideration. We hope to see you, unless of course you are not an advocate for compassion and caring, in which case we hope to never see you on campus or elsewhere. If you do fall into this category, please seek help to normalize yourself and adhere to our way of thinking.
Addison James, Ph.D
Director of Staffulty Safe Zones,
Non-threatening Facilities, &
Innocuous Plant Life
Post Script: The orientation for employees employing proper terminology has been postponed until the Provost’s administrative leave of absence concludes. Please pray for all involved in this, his most recent sexual harassment scandal. Until the orientation is rescheduled, please DO NOT use the phrase sexual orientation during any First Year Orientations. Instead, use the phrase “affectional orientation,” but this will all be covered in the pre-orientation to campus-wide Terminology Orientation.
Addison teaches Grade Nine at an undisclosed locale in the Commonwealth of Stay Outta His Business. He lives in a re-purposed micro-home he fashioned out of ole' chicken coups and dog runs. His wife is a raving radical Republican right-winger who currently carries their first offspring. The expectant pair lives with their bloodhound Rufus in a rural out of the way spot surrounded by pastoral beauty and bovine sentinels. His work can be read in Weirderary, Red Fez, and the Concho River Review.