Dear DU faculty, 

As we welcome you back to campus this term, we find ourselves faced with yet another "teaching the day after" event. Yesterday's events at our nation's Capitol were disturbing, frightening, and disruptive to our country's peaceful, democratic, and foundational practices. It is not just yesterday's event weighing on our students and us but also the compounded effect of the ongoing pandemic, political tensions, and overall divisiveness of a nation in need of unity and healing. 

We realize that you may be processing your response, and we want to acknowledge, once again, the importance of your presence with our students as they process these events as well. We also want to recognize that yesterday’s events have had a much different and devastating impact on marginalized, underrepresented, and immigrant communities across the country; many of whom are today grappling with fear, anxiety, and indescribable sadness after witnessing racist rhetoric, symbols, and violence in our nation’s Capitol. We urge all faculty to enact inclusive, humanizing and trauma-informed pedagogical practices to support our underrepresented students. Enclosed in this communication are resources to support you in acknowledging and discussing these issues in your classes. No matter your discipline, your students are feeling the effects of these events. 

An excellent resource was published last night by Dr. Alyssa Hadley Dunn from Michigan State University, who is currently writing a book about “teaching the day after” titled, Resources for Teachers on the Day After the Attack on the US Capitol. Written for a broad audience, including K-12 teachers, she provides advice useful for students of any age. 

The OTL has shared a number of practical supports for setting up discussion guidelines and addressing difficult conversations in the classroom including a blog post published in the lead up to the election, Ensuring Collegiality and Civility: A Classroom Management Quick Guide. You may also find Responding to Trauma in the Classroom helpful for guiding your discussions with students. 

Beyond OTL resources, a helpful guide for you and your students for managing stress and trauma can be found here. 

Additionally, the American Historical Association has curated comprehensive resources for educators on contextualizing violence, elections, general US history and international context comparisons. These are aimed to support discussions about yesterday’s events and framing them beyond the idea of a single “moment”, and rather inviting students to reflect on them as the “product of a long history that presents a familiar, yet unusually urgent, challenge.” The AHA has curated comprehensive resources for educators, and highlighted some as starting points for transformative discussions:

Lastly, our GSSW colleagues shared the following resources which we would like to provide with you as well: 

  • My Student Support Program (My SSP): All degree seeking students at DU have free 24/7 access to tele-mental health support through DU's My SSP: Student Support Program. To learn more and get started, please use these instructions to download the mobile app or use this link to access a complete video tutorial.
  • DU Student Outreach & Support: The DU Student Outreach and Support office is a University resource where trained staff members ensure that students get connected to appropriate campus resources, have a plan of action to meet their goals, and learn how to navigate challenging situations. The Student Outreach and Support office offers support in connection to resources, managing the Student Assistant Fund, and oversees the medical leave of absence process as well.  All members of the DU community may activate these services through an SOS referral. The SOS office may also be reached at or by calling 303-871-2400.
  • Teaching support and Open Student office Hours with Academic Affairs: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m

Please feel free to reach out to the OTL to discuss integrating these approaches into your classroom. 

In community,
Leslie Cramblet Alvarez
Office of Teaching and Learning
Valentina Iturbe-LaGrave
Director of Inclusive Teaching Practices
Office of Teaching and Learning