Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Dealing with Toxic Stresses on Campus and in our Classrooms

Panelists at Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired, (left to right) Sacks, Nuru-Jeter, Mendoza-Denton
These stressors are not just individual incidents but they really accumulate in our bodies over time
Tina Sacks
It’s one thing to think about these concepts intellectually. It’s quite another to experience every day on the campus where you’re walking in and out of classrooms with people who do and don’t look like you, who do and don’t think like you.
Amani Nuru-Jeter
Don’t underestimate the power of social relationships and of your family, of your friends, of your kids, of your pets.
Rudy Mendoza-Denton

Event Description:

This has been a difficult year for many Berkeley students and faculty. At the national level, we have seen an increase in hateful rhetoric and exclusionary policies directed at many identities and communities. And here on campus, we have been deeply challenged by tensions around recent speaker events, as well as by increased policing, painful intergroup dynamics, and repeated instances of bias and harassment. All of this has led to an increase in individual and collective stress, trauma, and anxiety, which research shows can negatively impact learning, memory, and emotion.

The panel discusses these key questions:

  • What does it mean to teach in a time when so many people are struggling with these issues?
  • How do we understand the collective stresses and traumas affecting our students? What is the impact of these stresses on their experience in the classroom and on their learning more broadly?
  • How do we respond when new stressful or traumatizing situations arise – either on campus or in the national context?
  • How do we manage our own stress, trauma and anxiety in these times – both for the sake of our students and for our own well-being?


*Professor Rudy Mendoza-Denton, Psychology

*Professor Amani M. Allen (formally Nuru-Jeter), School of Public Health


Tina Sacks, School of Social Welfare