#StopAsianHate: Campus conversation addresses safety and mental health

%23StopAsianHate%3A+Campus+conversation+addresses+safety+and+mental+health

Lexi Wicks , Staff Reporter

According to the Stop AAPI Hate news release, starting from March 19 of last year through the end of 2020, a total of 3,292 reports of violence and harassment against Asian American and Pacific Islanders were reported from all 50 states.

#StopAsianHate has been flooding social media and the streets as marches are taking place in order to advocate for the AAPI community.

The Diversity and Equity Center hosted an AAPI Community Conversation on April 12, to find safety and support in what they say is feeling like an unsafe world.

Several of the students in attendance used the opportunity to share personal experiences and concerns.

Demonstrating the difficulties of generating conversation about this topic on campus, only ten people attended including three counselors, two police officers, and one staff member available to help answer questions.

The staff used the 90-minute meeting to listen and respond to some of the concerns and provide information about local and campus efforts to support the AAPI community.

Although the official date is not set, the group plans to meet again in May and is organizing another event for April 28. Anyone is welcomed and encouraged to attend, either in person or online via Zoom.  

Finding support

Director of the Student Counseling Center Cindy Bruns said that students who hold “marginalized identities” face systemic problems like  “white supremacy and those experiences of oppression and discrimination, or racism, or sexism, or homophobia, or transphobia.”

This makes it “really important, from our perspective at student counseling, that we are not pathologizing a problem that is a system problem and making it an individual problem,” Bruns said. 

“We offer support for people to understand how the system that they’re living in, how white supremacy, impacts their mental health. And then how can they cope with that in effective ways to support and improve their mental health,” Bruns said. 

“It starts with you as an individual, but it also starts with the power structures at the university as well,” Bruns added.

What’s happening 

Various groups on campus are responding to the call for the need to create a safer environment both on campus and within the community.

According to Bruns, student counseling services do more training than what CWU requires in terms of diversity, equity and inclusivity. They have an annual social justice initiative, quarterly book readings and continued education and training. 

According to officer Andy Bayne, CWU Police Department (CWUPD) makes an effort to engage with students and community members while on patrol. The department also provides a women’s self-defense class that is conducted by CWUPD officers through the physical education department.

Andy Bruns, sergeant and defense tactics instructor at CWU, said CWUPD partners with the Asia University America Program throughout the year to give a personal safety presentation. It also helps to introduce new students to CWUPD and their role within the CWU community. 

Community members can be allies. “If you see something, say something,” Officer Bayne said. “No matter the request we will [respond] and determine what steps need to occur next.”

CWU President James Gaudino and Delores (Kandee) Cleary, the vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity both put out statements of support for the AAPI community within the last six weeks.

 

Student Mental Health Resources

Student Counseling Services
Appointments available by phone
Staffed line Monday – Friday 
(509)-963-1391
[email protected]

 

WildcatCare 365 App (via TimelyMD)
Or access the online portal at http://www.wildcatcare365.com/
Provides medical, mental health services, individual counseling, and health wellness coaching.

 

TalkNow (also through the TimelyMD app)
24/7, 365 support line to directly connect with a licensed counselor. 
All services are free of charge.