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On What to Say After an Election

By Allison S. Gabriel, University of Arizona

If you’re like me, the 2016 election couldn’t end fast enough—the media coverage was exhausting, social media was a battlefield, and the amount of tension was palpable in the air. I say this as a faculty member working at a university that is a blue dot in a red state. I knew that among my students—many of whom were voting in their first election—there were differences of opinions, and that sometimes the differences were very strong. I teach my two large sections of organizational behavior on Mondays and Wednesdays this semester, which meant that no matter the outcome, I would be teaching the day after the election, and I felt a responsibility to say something to my students. Often, I feel like there is this struggle we have to face as faculty when something is going on in the world—do we say something, or do we just proceed business as usual? I’ve never been much of the latter, and so it felt odd to consider not saying anything when I knew it was going to be the elephant in the room lecture hall. However, that Wednesday morning, I found myself at a loss of words for what exactly it was that I wanted to say. I began texting colleagues at my school and elsewhere, trying to get a sense for what people were going to say, or if they were going to say anything at all. It turns out that most people were in the same situation that I was, in that they wanted to speak, but the words were escaping them. It took me a couple hours that morning to figure out, but eventually I decided to just share my story in a way that I hoped wouldn’t alienate anyone in the room. I figured I’d share it here, word-for-word, in hopes that maybe the words speak to some other people out there....Continue reading in the most recent issue of TIP!


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