College of Western Idaho President Bert Glandon offered counseling services to students and staff in the aftermath of last week’s election.
In a Nov. 9 email message to the campus, Glandon struck an optimistic tone for his school, and the country.
“I’m sure most of you, like me, woke up this morning feeling somewhat depleted from an exhausting election season,” Glandon wrote. “Regardless of your political preference, I think we can all agree that as a nation we experienced one of the most charged and divisive presidential elections of our lifetime.” In his message, the college president didn’t express preferences for any candidates by name.
Jake Garcin, a CWI communications representative, said Glandon didn’t seek to strike a partisan pose. Garcin told IdahoReporter.com, Glandon’s “thoughts/intentions were based on general interpretation and feedback from staff and faculty that morning that many students, staff and faculty were exhausted by the entirety of the election.”
For those distraught parties, Glandon offered social support provided by the school.
“First, I would like to encourage anyone in need of support to utilize the counseling services available at CWI,” the president wrote. “Our staff is prepared to answer questions and assist with any difficulties you face during your time with the college.”
Garcin defended Glandon’s offer Thursday.
“As a general rule, we try to communicate with campus that regardless of genesis of emotions, either from students or employees, there are existing resources available for them,” Garcin wrote. He added that many schools across the country have offered support to students after the divisive election season concluded.
Glandon and crew have extra reason for sadness. The college failed to persuade voters to approve a $255-million bond to fund campus several new buildings. CWI spent more than $30,000 on mailers that landed in mailboxes days before the election, but school officials deny using the money, student fees from the college's strategic reserve fund, to affect the election.
The bond won support from 57 percent of Ada and Canyon County voters, but failed to clear the two-thirds voter threshold that state law requires.
Garcin said Glandon further intended to keep campus spirits high regarding the future of CWI.
Garcin wrote, “[Glandon] also hoped to inspire students and employees that there is reason to be optimistic for the future of the College in the face of the outcome of the bond vote.”
Glandon’s election reaction pales in comparison to some other schools across the nation. According The College Fix, a University of Michigan professor delayed an exam due to “serious stress” brought by the election. Campus Reform reported that a University of Connecticut professor excused students from her Nov. 9 class.
Distraught students at Cornell University organized a “cry in” following election day, according to The Cornell Daily Sun.
Note: Below, published in its entirety, is CWI President Glandon’s note to campus faculty, staff and students.
I write to you this afternoon thankful to be part of a special community here at the College of Western Idaho. I’m sure most of you, like me, woke up this morning feeling somewhat depleted from an exhausting election season. Regardless of your political preference, I think we can all agree that as a nation we experienced one of the most charged and divisive Presidential elections of our lifetime. As a college, we also spent the past two months diligently preparing to present a bond measure for Ada and Canyon County voters to decide on our future development. In my conversations with staff, faculty, and students, it is apparent the election has taken an emotional toll on many of us.
First, I would like to encourage anyone in need of support to utilize the Counseling services available at CWI. Our staff is prepared to answer questions and assist with any difficulties you face during your time with the College.
As I drove into work this morning, I couldn’t help but feel optimistic about what the future holds for us. We have the unique benefit of being part of a higher education community that embraces respectful dialogue on our differences. We don’t subscribe to an idea that there is only one way to view the world. Instead, we challenge each other to explore perspectives and make decisions based on education and insight. As our country and college take the first steps to decide ‘what’s next?’ I can’t think of a better place to be than on our campus.
I believe we face plenty of challenges moving forward; as a country and a college. But my optimism about how we will create a better future lies in the hands of our dedicated faculty and staff, and bright students. I hope that CWI continues to be a breeding ground for productive, respectful, and thoughtful conversation. After all, I believe a college campus should model both civility and hope for the rest of the world.
I am proud to work with colleagues who care so greatly about the success of our students. I am even prouder to be surrounded by so many hard working students, committed to improving your lives through higher education. I truly believe the people on this campus are leaders preparing to change lives here in the Treasure Valley, in our great country, and around the world. Thank you for continuing to inspire me and give me unwavering hope in a bright tomorrow.
Dr. Bert Glandon
College of Western Idaho
Note: The original version of the story said taxpayer money covered the marketing campaign’s costs. This version has been updated for accuracy. IR regrets the error.