A message about stigma and bias from the Office of Compliance, Diversity and Ethics in partnership with Student Health Services

As we continue to take great precautions in keeping each other safe, we want our Mason community to be mindful of social stigmas and biases.

We want you to remember that biases and stigmas hurt us all because they create an environment of mistrust or anger in our communities. Fear and lack of credible information often lead to stigmatizing people, places, and things believed to be associated with public health emergencies, such as a pandemic.

Some groups that may experience stigmas because of the current pandemic include:

  • Individuals from a specific geographic region or location
  • Those who have had the virus or have been in, or finished, an isolation or quarantine period
  • Anyone displaying symptoms such as a runny nose or cough
  • Family members of someone that had the virus
  • Recent travelers
  • Emergency responders, healthcare professionals, or other frontline workers

Let’s do our part and remember to avoid associating this virus with any particular group of people.

Eventually we will all be on campus. As we prepare for that, we should keep in mind that this is our community. Mason takes great pride in our diversity and the richness that it provides. We strive to make sure that Mason is free from any and all forms of discrimination. Let’s continue to move forward together inclusively and celebrate each other’s diversity. To learn more about our commitment to Diversity, visit https://diversity.gmu.edu/diversity.

Tips on combating stigma during a pandemic:

  • Stay informed through reliable, credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), to avoid spreading misinformation.
  • Be mindful of stigmatizing language and behaviors that increase fear and make us all less safe in our communities.
  • Always remember pandemics do not recognize race, nationality, or ethnicity.

For more information visit the following sites:

Mason Safe Return to Campus https://www2.gmu.edu/Safe-Return-Campus 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov

World Health Organization www.who.int/ 

Thank you for your commitment to keeping our community safe and healthy.

Dietra Y. Trent, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President
Compliance, Diversity and Ethics

Lisa Park, MD, MPH
Executive Director
Student Health Services

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