No Rest During Campus Unrest: ACUI Resources You May Need Today

Campuses across the United States are navigating student protests that have led to hundreds of arrests, including many of students, while creating anxiety, confusion, and anger for students, staff, faculty, and community members.

Even as some campus leaders hope the approaching conclusion of the academic year will temper protests over the conflict in Gaza, resources promoting and supporting civil dialogue, mindfulness, mental health, and mutual respect have never been more in demand. Recognizing that practicing the First Amendment right to assembly and expression is a long-held standard on college campuses, ACUI has provided its members with the resources and tools to stay informed on how expression of those rights can influence campus community.

Webinars, roundtables, keynote addresses, toolkits, and training sessions related to the topics of free speech, activism, emergency management, active dialogue, and mental health resilience can all be found in ACUI Libraries, The Bulletin, and other resources accessible at The May 22 Hot Topics Roundtable (register here) will also provide space for a discussion about campus climate and challenges during the protests.

Just last year during the 2023 Annual Conference, behavioral scientist Kristen Lee presented a keynote that focused on the use of microstrategies as a means for developing mental resilience in the face of stress and burnout. As professionals interacting with students, faculty, the public, and their peers during a time of intense stress, Lee’s strategies for practicing mindfulness, building trust through kindness and joy, and setting boundaries are prescient.

“Studies show that people who can see what’s in their locus of control are more likely to grow versus staying hyper-fixated on that which we can’t control,” she said during the keynote in Boston, which can be found here in the ACUI Library.

To some in higher education, it may come as no surprise that many campuses were unprepared to address large-scale student activism and conflict on campuses. A 2021 Bulletin article, “Campus Conflict and Preparedness for Activism,” referenced a national study that found that 59% of senior campus leaders said conflicts between students of different ideological groups were “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to occur. The same report, from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), found that student affairs professionals (70%) had nearly equal the conflict management training as did campus law enforcement (72%).

The ability to allow for civil discourse, including heated disagreements, to occur while also being positioned to prevent that dialogue from descending into hateful and harassing behavior is a skill set many student affairs professionals have developed, as the AACU report found. Through the support of those members and professionals from outside higher education invited to participate in educational programming at ACUI, the following content developed over the past three years provides a variety of material that may be beneficial during these heated times on college campuses. All are available to members through the ACUI Library:

Other items that may be of interest include Bulletin articles:


  • Steve Chaplin

    Steve Chaplin is managing editor of ACUI’s The Bulletin and manager of the ACUI College Union and Student Activities (CUSA) Evaluation Program. A former newspaper writer, editor, and manager, he has volunteered as a student mentor as a member of the National Association of Science Writers, and received awards for his writing and reporting from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, and the Kentucky Press Association.

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