Most institutions experiencing protests or demonstrations focus narrowly on responding to activists and supporting administrators on the front lines. However, campus activism affects more than just the immediate participants. It affects the greater student body, the broader campus community, and even external stakeholders. Each of these constituencies has specific questions and concerns, requiring institutional attention when responding to activism on campus.
During an outburst of activism, it is important to address the questions and concerns of the broader campus community and external constituencies. To develop a communication plan, institutions shouldn’t wait until they are in the moment. EAB recommends that institutional leaders create a blueprint that can be tailored as the situation unfolds. The questions below are designed to help identify key stakeholders at your institution who need to be better informed about campus activism and develop an action plan to determine who will communicate with these groups and what information they need to know.
1: Who are the people beyond frontline activists and responders who should be better informed about campus activism?
2: Who is the point person for communicating with each of these constituencies? Should that person change based on the potential cause or movement?
3: If an outburst of activism occurs, who will coordinate communications across point people to ensure consistent talking points and messaging?
4: What information and key messages do each of these unique constituencies need to know?
5: What channels should be used to communicate this information broadly and to specific groups?