PSU campaign combats fear and anxiety in society by encouraging dialogue
Author: Kurt Bedell, PSU Media and Public Relations
Posted: November 14, 2017
Helping all members of the PSU community feel welcome on campus and encouraging dialogue among people with different perspectives is the focus of a new public service campaign launched by Portland State University.
Called “U Belong at PSU,” the campaign includes a comprehensive set of events, workshops, lectures and programs that embrace diversity and inclusion and encourage dialogue among people of different viewpoints on a variety of national, local and campus issues.

“Many PSU students, faculty and staff have experienced fear, concern, anxiety and tension due to the increase in incivility, intolerance, bias incidents and hate crimes in our community,” said Carmen Suarez, vice president of global diversity and inclusion. “With our U Belong at PSU effort, we’re introducing tools that are designed to reduce individual and collective fear among members of our community who are feeling targeted and unsafe.” 

The “U Belong at PSU” initiative includes:

  • Active bystander intervention trainings — As bias incidents and hate crimes against people who represent different races, religions, national origin, gender identity and expression become more commonplace, members of the PSU community want to know how they can help. These trainings prepare active bystanders to witness incidents, recognize risk of harm and act to improve the situation.
  • Lecture on the politics of division and fear and finding common ground —  Kenneth Waltzer, a Holocaust historian, spoke to campus community members in a lecture titled “The Politics of Division and Fear: The Challenges of Finding Common Ground.” Waltzer explored the challenges of hearing, knowing and working politically with people of different views as well as examining the tricky prospect of preserving free speech rights on college campuses. Future lectures will address additional topics on how to work together and find common ground.
  • Workshops on inclusive and culturally responsive curriculum and teaching — These faculty workshops help PSU instructors retool and reimagine their curricula and classroom teaching in ways that recognize, respect and center the diversity of PSU students.
  • Bias and response team — A special team of PSU leadership — led by the vice presidents of enrollment management, student affairs and global diversity and inclusion — assemble, problem solve and respond when incidents of bias, discrimination or defamation occur on campus.
  • Promotional campaign — To highlight PSU’s welcoming environment on campus and online, the initiative has launched a comprehensive promotional campaign that includes posters and flyers placed around campus and content posted on PSU’s social media.

To learn more about the “U Belong at PSU” initiative, visit the program website.