How has the Counseling Center responded to reactions to the flyer that advertised the group?
We completely agree with feedback that the flyer was not clear in conveying the purpose of the group and that many students, particularly students of color, were hurt, confused, angered, and insulted by the flyer. We heard that trust in the Counseling Center was damaged. We immediately discontinued use of the flyer and revised the description of the group on our website to emphasize that this therapy group helps White participants become advocates in promoting anti-racist attitudes and behaviors.
In addition, Counseling Center staff have met with numerous individuals and student groups to acknowledge our mistake and the pain and confusion caused by the flyer, explain our intention and goals for the group, and begin to rebuild trust with students. We will continue to meet with student organizations, faculty, and staff.
Purpose of the Group
The goal of the Anti-Racism and Ally Building Group is to enhance White students' awareness of racism and their socialization into the dominant culture, and help them become better racial allies and bystanders. Participants will learn to take responsibility for their own growth and learning, and they will leave the therapy group with a better understanding of racism and racial privilege. In addition, participants in this group will be better able to engage other White people in combating racism in themselves and in our society.
Type of Group
This is a weekly therapy group with a social justice theme. The group will consist of 6-8 students. Members will be asked to commit to attending the group weekly for the semester.
Participants are White students who are interested in gaining an understanding of issues of racial privilege, power, and racial socialization. Group participants should be interested in taking proactive steps in support of social and racial justice.
How is the group structured?
This is a weekly therapy group facilitated by a White licensed psychologist with many years of experience in education and research in the areas of White racial identity. The facilitator combines education and therapeutic interventions to foster participant’s awareness, knowledge, and skills of social and racial justice issues. Participation in group therapy is one of multiple methods for addressing race relations and racism.
Students interested in participating in the group are required to go through an intake and group screening process at the Counseling Center.
Is this the only group at the Counseling Center for students from a specific social identity?
Historically, the Counseling Center has conducted a number of therapy groups and support groups attended by students of various identities, including the LGBTQIA+ Support Group; Circle of Sisters for Black Women; Latinx Support Group; International Student Support Group; Arab, Middle Eastern, & North African Student Support Group; Men and Masculinity; and the Graduate Diversity Discussion Group.
This is a therapy group for White students to explore their racial identities and socialization into the majority racial group and develop an anti-racist identity. While cross-racial dialogues are an effective part of enhancing multicultural competence and combating racism, intra-racial work also is important.