Mental health, Sexual Assault Awareness, Asian/Asian Am. meet/greet & more
Mental health, Sexual Assault Awareness, Asian/Asian Am. meet/greet & more
You Belong At CICS: Diversity & Inclusive Community Newsletter
Erika Lynn Dawson Head

Supporting Each Other

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and it is important to have difficult conversations about acts of gender-based and sexual violence. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), sexual violence is more prevalent at colleges and universities compared to other crimes.
If you are ever in a situation where you think a sexual assault might be occurring, there are specific steps you can take to stop or prevent the assault—learn about the bystander intervention method here.
If you are a victim of a sexual assault, it's extremely important to take care of yourself and get the support you need, including learning about your reporting options. In the Amherst area, the local 24-hour rape crisis line is 413-545-0800. If you witness a sexual assault, please report it.
I would also like to discuss another issue that is often considered taboo: mental health. This academic year has been difficult in unprecedented ways, resulting in loneliness, isolation, exhaustion, fear, and anxiety. In the face of these shared challenges, I hope that all of us—students, faculty, and staff—are beginning to feel more comfortable talking openly about mental health. Together, let’s normalize conversations regarding challenging emotions and be sources of resilience for each other.
If you are a student and you feel like you need to talk with someone for support, don’t hesitate to contact the UMass Center for Counseling and Psychological Health. If you are a staff or faculty member, you can get mental health support from the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.
Supporting each other, we can make a difference!
Erika Lynn Dawson Head, Director of Diversity and Inclusive Community Development
College of Information and Computer Sciences, UMass Amherst
Logo: Center for Women & Community

Community Mental Health and Sexual Assault Counseling Resources

The Center for Women and Community (CWC) provides free counseling, advocacy, and support groups remotely to people of all genders in Hampshire County. Their 24/7 hotline (413-545-0800) provides free, confidential, and immediate support related to sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. For short-term, individual counseling, the Crisis Counseling & Teen Services program is available for people of any gender who wish to receive support regarding sexual or relationship violence. The CWC also offers the Crisis Advocacy program, which helps students get support in applying for a restraining order, completing a sexual assault evidence kit, reporting an incident to their school, and working with the police and district attorney's office.
For general counseling or to join a support group session, call their main line at 413-545-0883. CWC support groups include Embodying Brave Space, for survivors and other people impacted by sexual violence; Relationship Glow Up, discussing healthy relationships, healing from previous relationships, and intersections with our identities; and Here and Now, providing tools to work through stress and anxiety.
Free counseling, support & advocacy: CWC is here for Hampshire County
Cover: Dispatches from the Race War

Book Recommendation: Dispatches from the Race War by Tim Wise

Dispatches from the Race War is an antiracist essay collection from social activist and author Tim Wise. Featuring reflections on police violence, white nationalism, and white denial, Wise illustrates how white supremacy operates today—and how we can work toward dismantling it.
"What Tim Wise has brilliantly done is to challenge white folks' truth ... to see that they have a responsibility to do more than sit back and watch, but to recognize their own role in co-creating ...a fair, inclusive, truly democratic society."
— Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
Yanlei Diao

Faculty Spotlight: Mohammad Hajiesmaili

Research Assistant Professor Mohammad Hajiesmaili joined CICS in 2018. Primarily teaching introductory undergraduate courses in informatics, he enjoys working with his students, many of whom are pursuing a variety of academic interests at the intersection between computer science and other majors, like economics or psychology.
He has brought his interest in interdisciplinary research to his other roles at UMass Amherst, in particular, his research at the Center for Data Science. There, he focuses on the application of computing tools like machine learning to problems with energy systems. One of his more recent projects investigates how computing tools can help improve the equity of current and future energy systems.
“We have anonymized data for an entire town in Massachusetts, house-by-house, and we are developing AI models to measure the equity impacts of energy-inefficient housing in this town,” says Hajiesmaili. “This research, if successful, will be very useful for policymakers, who can determine which particular houses and areas are in need of energy assistance programs.”
Recently, Hajiesmaili received a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, which will fund his research into strategies for the decarbonization of the internet.

CWC Community Challenge 2021

Marking the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, all are invited to join the Center for Women and Community (CWC) on April 24 for their Community Challenge. Participants will raise awareness and funding for the CWC's sexual assault support, advocacy, and prevention programs. Will you accept the challenge and support survivors of sexual assault, and the creation of a violence free community?
Saturday, April 24

Inclusivity in the Classroom — Students' Perspectives

Join the Creating an Inclusive Classroom CARE Working Group for a discussion between faculty and students about what an inclusive and diverse classroom looks like to all of us. This will be an opportunity for students and faculty to come together and share what they think is working in the classroom, and what could still use some improvement.
Tuesday, April 27, Noon–1:00 p.m.

Save the Date: Meet & Greet / Informal Networking Lunch for Asian & Asian American Faculty and Staff

Asian & Asian American faculty and staff at UMass Amherst are invited to meet one another and strengthen their community networks on May 19, the birthday of Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X. This event will be held on Zoom and may also have an in-person component at the new Worcester Dining Commons. Stay tuned for more details!
Wednesday, May 19, Noon–1:00 p.m.

What Should We Include Next?

Know someone with a great story? Or someone you just want to put a spotlight on for their great work? Here at CICS, we love being able to highlight those around us who make every day a bit better. This is an opportunity to get more involved in our newsletter by nominating a student organization or faculty/staff member to be interviewed.
Nominate someone!
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