Preventing Stigma with Facts and Awareness

Students in the NC State Brickyard

Dear Wolfpack Community,

I want to acknowledge the situation that is on the minds of many of us: the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), its impact on so many already, and its possible impact on others, including our campus community.

NC State officials are working very hard to monitor the situation and to provide timely communications to our community. All official university statements and information can be found at the central NC State resource page:

I’d like to highlight the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on facts related to this outbreak. As the CDC guidance notes, “Fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma toward people, places or things. For example, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease.”

We want to be sure that NC State remains vigilant about its commitment to inclusion and respect of everyone during this time. Negative stereotyping, social avoidance or rejection, denial of access, social media harassment or shaming, or other such behaviors can and should be avoided.

Additionally, the CDC guidance on preventing stigma provides many suggestions on how we can keep from perpetuating stigma during this time. Here are just a few:

  • Know the facts and raise awareness about COVID-19 without increasing fear.
  • Share accurate information about how the virus spreads.
  • Speak out against negative behaviors, including negative statements on social media about groups of people or exclusion of people who pose no risk from regular activities.
  • Be cautious about images that are shared. Make sure they do not reinforce stereotypes.

We want to ensure our community has resources to know and understand what may be harmful to others during this time, and especially, ways to avoid perpetuating stigma.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as needed. If you experience an incident, please know we are here to assist. Please consult our website for information about our programs and services.

We encourage you to please take care of yourselves and each other, and to stay informed about how to take reasonable precautions around COVID-19.

Sheri L. Schwab, J.D., M.Ed., ‘97
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity
Title IX and ADA Coordinator
NC State University