Who we are
The University of Chicago Student Counseling Service has a 10-member human diversity committee that meets quarterly to formally discuss issues of culture, oppression, and their relationship to the student experience at the University of Chicago. This committee selects topics and organizes educative programming for SCS clinicians designed to promote growth around issues pertaining to diversity. Over the last seven years, programming has focused on topics including: religion, race, nationality, gender identity, economic diversity, and sexual orientation. One year was dedicated time to focus exclusively on our own personal histories with being and feeling different.
What we believe
We believe there are some life experiences all people share such as grief, loss, and joy. We believe there are some life experiences some people share such as having siblings, being members of a particular ethnic group(s), or holding a particular gender identity. And we believe there are some life experiences that are uniquely individual such as being born into a particular family at a particular time with a particular set of talents and intelligences. In some ways we are all the same. In some ways some of us are the same. In some ways none of us is the same.
We recognize all aspects of diversity are important and that all aspects of diversity intersect with one another – race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, religion/spirituality, socioeconomic status, age, body shape/size, and point of view.
We believe we do not know everything.
We believe that being well-rounded, competent clinicians does not ensure we are multiculturally competent. In addition to honing our assessment and treatment skills, we must continually learn about and become comfortable with groups of people who are not familiar to us.
We believe stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, oppression, power and privilege exist. We recognize these forces cause major life traumas as well as daily hassles. We understand these forces to become internalized and become part of the lens through which we interpret the world.
We believe students’ expectations, group membership, identities, and values impact whether SCS services are deemed acceptable or potentially helpful. We acknowledge that some students are unlikely or tentative to access our services. We also understand that such factors can and do influence how our services are experienced.
What we intend
We intend to treat each student we see with respect and openness. We seek to be familiar with, or to be willing to become familiar with the groups students we meet with belong to. We hope to have open dialogues with students we treat or any student at the University of Chicago. We aspire to learn about the experiences, beliefs, and values of the students we meet without assuming we know what these are upon our first encounter. We work to increase our self-awareness about our own values, beliefs, and biases.