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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Fla. College Student Denied Mental Health Services Because He Was White

'Unfortunately, we do need to keep this space specific to BIPOC folks... '

(Headline USA) A student at the University of South Florida was reportedly denied mental health services because he was white. 

Last year, Andrew Davis reached out to the school about attending an “Understanding Self and Others” group therapy meeting, according to Campus Reform. None of the available sessions worked with his schedule, except for the “BIPOC” meeting time. He reached out to university officials to see if he could attend this session.

“I am interested in attending a USO group meeting after completing the pre-group appointment but the only day/time that works for me is Wednesdays during the BIPOC students-only group,” Davis inquired in an email. “I am not a BIPOC student but was wondering if I would still be able to attend?”

The USF Counseling Center responded: “Unfortunately, we do need to keep this space specific to BIPOC folks … Hopefully you’ll be able to catch another one either during Winter break and/or next semester.”

In October 2022, Davis filed a complaint with USF’s Office of Compliance & Ethics, accusing the school of denying him services because of his skin color. He immediately faced hostility from campus administrators, reported Campus Reform.

Equal Opportunity Officer Kenneth Thomas, for example, “was accusatory” and “asked me if I even knew what BIPOC meant and if I understood the importance of those groups having their own discussion,” Davis said.

“He did not seem concerned about my complaint and was more worried about the University’s ability to continue these groups,” Davis added. 

Davis did not receive a response regarding his complaint until Feb. 8 of this year.

“The Counseling Center will not prohibit any category of student [from] participating in specialized counseling groups unless specific exception, or a medical mandate is identified that may support exclusivity,” the school responded. 

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