Problem with Administrative Response to VTech

In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedies, we got many emails imploring the student body to make use of the Office of Behavioral Health Services when times get tough. Sounds like a good enough plan, right?

Well, the truth of the matter is that the OBHS is woefully underfunded and over-extended.

Last year, it was decided that the services of OBHS be cut in half. Rather than respond to the ever increasing demand for mental health services with allocating more funding, the administration responded by…well, limiting visits to professionals to five a year.

It is difficult to accept that students be told to use a service that can barely meet the demand as it is. This is not to say that you should avoid seeking out the help you need. Please, if you ever feel you need to talk, don’t hesitate to call them.

However, I do, in many respects, find it irresponsible of the administration to quell fears of the community that the students at Wesleyan have all the resources they need when in fact they do not.

As Mike Butterfield ’06 wrote in a wespeak last year:

Take three: Williams, Amherst, and Trinity College. Amherst, Wesleyan, and Williams are known as the “Little Three” colleges; this fraternal designation marks each college in the triad as a critical reference point for the other two. Trinity is nearby and comparable to the Little Three in its “competitiveness,” size and cost. A comparative investigation reveals two striking facts; first, none of these three schools places a limit upon the number of weekly counseling sessions a student can seek. That is, Wesleyan’s peers offer both short and long-term counseling—at no charge—to their students. Second, these institutions employ significantly more counseling staff to attend their smaller student bodies. It is important to stress that a comparative analysis of mental health services is important in two respects; (1) because it shows that competitive peer schools allocate significantly more resources to provide for the well-being of their students, and (2) that these increased allocations perhaps reveal a different, more compassionate institutional attitude towards the health of students.

Administrative officials may claim that “there is no budget” for such a thing. Such a claim is fiction– corporate Capitalism creates scarcity. With a $150 million dollar annual operating budget, what Wesleyan faces is not a “crisis of resources” but a crisis of priorities. I refuse to believe that Wesleyan does not have the estimated $50,000 per year to hire another psychotherapist(s); this amount reflects three-hundreths of one percent (.03%) of Wesleyan’s budget.

I believe that Wesleyan can do better. I agree with Wesleyan’s Administration that the demand for counseling services outstrips OBH’s current capacity; I also agree that when talking about healthcare, it is silly to bicker over numbers—”5 or 10.” However, I believe the “radical” notion that the best way to ensure mental health for students is to provide care, and that we could stop talking about numbers if Wesleyan joined its peers in offering as many counseling sessions as are required for students’ health. I believe that this institution has a responsibility to provide care for its students, because this environment creates intense stresses and challenges, and because Wesleyan claims to not be a business, but a caring community. Certainly, other staff and students can play a part in making a healthy environment on campus, but in the end, they are not professional medical staff.

27 thoughts on “Problem with Administrative Response to VTech

  1. Holly

    Actually, to be fair, there’s a lot more that I didn’t post, too. Like how students get turned off when they have to wait three weeks for an initial appointment or get switched around from therapist to therapist. There’s actually a lot of stuff that doesn’t get represented by numbers.

  2. Holly

    Actually, to be fair, there’s a lot more that I didn’t post, too. Like how students get turned off when they have to wait three weeks for an initial appointment or get switched around from therapist to therapist. There’s actually a lot of stuff that doesn’t get represented by numbers.

  3. Holly

    Actually, to be fair, there’s a lot more that I didn’t post, too. Like how students get turned off when they have to wait three weeks for an initial appointment or get switched around from therapist to therapist. There’s actually a lot of stuff that doesn’t get represented by numbers.

  4. Anonymous

    one thing to consider is that if the analyst thinks you need more sessions than 5, then you get them, no questions asked, for free. there is more to this than you posted.

  5. Anonymous

    one thing to consider is that if the analyst thinks you need more sessions than 5, then you get them, no questions asked, for free. there is more to this than you posted.

  6. Anonymous

    one thing to consider is that if the analyst thinks you need more sessions than 5, then you get them, no questions asked, for free. there is more to this than you posted.

  7. Anonymous

    Hmm, I mean, it’s been a problem for two years, though, and it’s obviously taxing on students. I see your point, but they often say they’re working on something (like, say, hiring new professors?) when it’ll take years to do and won’t address the immediate problem.

  8. Anonymous

    Hmm, I mean, it’s been a problem for two years, though, and it’s obviously taxing on students. I see your point, but they often say they’re working on something (like, say, hiring new professors?) when it’ll take years to do and won’t address the immediate problem.

  9. Anonymous

    Hmm, I mean, it’s been a problem for two years, though, and it’s obviously taxing on students.

    I see your point, but they often say they’re working on something (like, say, hiring new professors?) when it’ll take years to do and won’t address the immediate problem.

  10. Anonymous

    holly,as a OBHS frequenter, it’s not true that the administration cut it in half last year, they just tried to limit the number of sessions you could have without being referred to an outside psychologist (it didn’t really work, the doctors still let you come as many time as you want in most cases). also, next year they are hiring another staff member and possibly two. so it’s not really true that it’s not a priority for them. they’ve been working pretty hard to expand it.

  11. Anonymous

    holly,as a OBHS frequenter, it’s not true that the administration cut it in half last year, they just tried to limit the number of sessions you could have without being referred to an outside psychologist (it didn’t really work, the doctors still let you come as many time as you want in most cases). also, next year they are hiring another staff member and possibly two. so it’s not really true that it’s not a priority for them. they’ve been working pretty hard to expand it.

  12. Anonymous

    holly,

    as a OBHS frequenter, it’s not true that the administration cut it in half last year, they just tried to limit the number of sessions you could have without being referred to an outside psychologist (it didn’t really work, the doctors still let you come as many time as you want in most cases). also, next year they are hiring another staff member and possibly two. so it’s not really true that it’s not a priority for them. they’ve been working pretty hard to expand it.

  13. Anonymous

    I’m really upset with OBHS, too. I tried making an appointment two weeks ago and they said they were completely booked 3 out of the 5 days a week, making it impossible for me to see them. That’s kinda nuts. and scary.

  14. Anonymous

    I’m really upset with OBHS, too. I tried making an appointment two weeks ago and they said they were completely booked 3 out of the 5 days a week, making it impossible for me to see them. That’s kinda nuts. and scary.

  15. Anonymous

    I’m really upset with OBHS, too. I tried making an appointment two weeks ago and they said they were completely booked 3 out of the 5 days a week, making it impossible for me to see them.

    That’s kinda nuts. and scary.

  16. Anonymous

    Holly, I really am glad you wrote this. You brought to my attention at least a serious contradiction that really should be addressed.

  17. Anonymous

    Holly, I really am glad you wrote this. You brought to my attention at least a serious contradiction that really should be addressed.

  18. Anonymous

    Holly, I really am glad you wrote this. You brought to my attention at least a serious contradiction that really should be addressed.

  19. Anonymous

    Don’t know where else to post this but here…What May Come: Asian Americans and the Virginia Tech ShootingsTamara K. NopperApril 17, 2007Like many, I was glued to the television news yesterday, keeping updated about the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech University. I was trying to deal with my own disgust and sadness, especially since my professional life as a graduate student and college instructor is tied to universities. And then the other shoe dropped. I found out from a friend that the news channel she was watching had reported the shooter as Asian. It has now been reported, after much confusion, that the shooter is Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean immigrant and Virginia Tech student. As an Asian American woman, I am keenly aware that Asians are about to become a popular media topic if not the victims of physical backlash. Rarely have we gotten as much attention in the past ten years, except, perhaps, during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Since then Asians are seldom seen in the media except when one of us wins a golfing match, Woody Allen has sex, or Angelina Jolie adopts a kid. I am not looking forward to the onslaught of media attention. If history truly does have clues about what will come, there may be several different ways we as Asian Americans will be talked about.One, we will watch white media pundits and perhaps even sociologists explain what they understand as an “Asian” way of being. They will talk about how Asian males presumably have fragile “egos” and therefore are culturally prone to engage in kamikaze style violence. These statements will be embedded with racist tropes about Japanese military fighters during WWII or the Viet Cong—the crazy, calculating, and hidden Asian man who will fight to the death over presumably nothing. In the process, the white media might actually ask Asian Americans our perspectives for a change. We will probably be expected to apologize in some way for the behavior of another Asian—something whites never have to collectively do when one of theirs engages in (mass) violence, which is often. And then some of us might succumb to the Orientalist logic of the media by eagerly promoting Asian Americans as real Americans and therefore unlike Asians overseas who presumably engage in culturally reprehensible behavior. In other words, if we get to talk at all, Asian Americans will be expected to interpret, explain, and distance themselves from other Asians just to get airtime. Or perhaps the media will take the color-blind approach instead of a strictly eugenic one. The media might try to whitewash the situation and treat Cho as just another alienated middle-class suburban kid. In some ways this is already happening—hence the constant referrals tothe proximity of the shootings to the 8th anniversary of the Columbine killings. The media will repeat over and over words from a letter that Cho left behind speaking of “rich kids,” and “deceitful charlatans.” They will ask what’s going on in middle-class communities that encourage this type of violence. In the process they may never talk about the dirty little secret about middle-class assimilation: for non-whites, it does not always prevent racial alienation, rage, or depression. This may be surprising given that we are bombarded with constant images suggesting that racial harmony will exist once we are all middle-class. But for many of us who have achieved middle-class life, even if we may not openly admit it, alienation does not stop if you are not white. But the white media, being as tricky as it is, may probably talk about Cho in ways that reflect a combination of both traditional eugenic and colorblind approaches. They will emphasize Cho’s ethnicity and economic background by wondering what would set off a hard-working, quiet, South Korean immigrant from a middle-class dry-cleaner-owning family. They will wonder why Cho would commit such acts of violence, which we expect from Middle Easterners and Muslims and those crazy Asians from overseas, but not from hard-working South Korean immigrants. They will promote Cho as “the model minority” who suddenly, for no reason, went crazy. Whereas eugenic approaches depicting Asians as crazy kamikazes or Viet Cong mercenaries emphasize Asian violence, the eugenic aspect of the model minority myth suggests that there is something about Asian Americans that makes them less prone to expressions of anger, rage, violence, or criminality. Indeed, we are not even seen as having legitimate reasons to have anger, let alone rage, hence the need to figure out what made this “quiet” student “snap.” Given that the model minority myth is a white racist invention that elevates Asians over minority groups, Cho will be dissected as an anomaly among South Koreans who “are not prone” to violence—unlike Blacks who are racistly viewed as inherently violent or South Asians, Middle Easterners and Muslims who are viewed as potential terrorists. He will be talked about as acting “out of character” from the other “good South Koreans” who come here quietly and dutifully work towards the American dream. Operating behind the scenes of course is a diplomatic relationship between the US and South Korea forged through bombs and military zones during the Korean War and expressed through the new free trade agreement negotiations between the countries. Indeed, even as South Korean diplomats express concern about racial backlash against Asians, they are quick to disown Cho in order to maintain the image of the respectable South Korean. Whatever happens, Cho will become whoever the white media wants him to be and for whatever political platform it and legislators want to push. In the process, Asian Americans will, like other non-whites, be picked apart, dissected, and theorized by whites. As such, this is no different than any other day for Asian Americans. Only this time an Asian face will be on every television screen, internet search engine, and newspaper. Tamara K. Nopper is an educator, writer, and activist living in Philadelphia. She can be reached at tnopper@yahoo.com.

  20. Anonymous

    Don’t know where else to post this but here…What May Come: Asian Americans and the Virginia Tech ShootingsTamara K. NopperApril 17, 2007Like many, I was glued to the television news yesterday, keeping updated about the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech University. I was trying to deal with my own disgust and sadness, especially since my professional life as a graduate student and college instructor is tied to universities. And then the other shoe dropped. I found out from a friend that the news channel she was watching had reported the shooter as Asian. It has now been reported, after much confusion, that the shooter is Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean immigrant and Virginia Tech student. As an Asian American woman, I am keenly aware that Asians are about to become a popular media topic if not the victims of physical backlash. Rarely have we gotten as much attention in the past ten years, except, perhaps, during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Since then Asians are seldom seen in the media except when one of us wins a golfing match, Woody Allen has sex, or Angelina Jolie adopts a kid. I am not looking forward to the onslaught of media attention. If history truly does have clues about what will come, there may be several different ways we as Asian Americans will be talked about.One, we will watch white media pundits and perhaps even sociologists explain what they understand as an “Asian” way of being. They will talk about how Asian males presumably have fragile “egos” and therefore are culturally prone to engage in kamikaze style violence. These statements will be embedded with racist tropes about Japanese military fighters during WWII or the Viet Cong—the crazy, calculating, and hidden Asian man who will fight to the death over presumably nothing. In the process, the white media might actually ask Asian Americans our perspectives for a change. We will probably be expected to apologize in some way for the behavior of another Asian—something whites never have to collectively do when one of theirs engages in (mass) violence, which is often. And then some of us might succumb to the Orientalist logic of the media by eagerly promoting Asian Americans as real Americans and therefore unlike Asians overseas who presumably engage in culturally reprehensible behavior. In other words, if we get to talk at all, Asian Americans will be expected to interpret, explain, and distance themselves from other Asians just to get airtime. Or perhaps the media will take the color-blind approach instead of a strictly eugenic one. The media might try to whitewash the situation and treat Cho as just another alienated middle-class suburban kid. In some ways this is already happening—hence the constant referrals tothe proximity of the shootings to the 8th anniversary of the Columbine killings. The media will repeat over and over words from a letter that Cho left behind speaking of “rich kids,” and “deceitful charlatans.” They will ask what’s going on in middle-class communities that encourage this type of violence. In the process they may never talk about the dirty little secret about middle-class assimilation: for non-whites, it does not always prevent racial alienation, rage, or depression. This may be surprising given that we are bombarded with constant images suggesting that racial harmony will exist once we are all middle-class. But for many of us who have achieved middle-class life, even if we may not openly admit it, alienation does not stop if you are not white. But the white media, being as tricky as it is, may probably talk about Cho in ways that reflect a combination of both traditional eugenic and colorblind approaches. They will emphasize Cho’s ethnicity and economic background by wondering what would set off a hard-working, quiet, South Korean immigrant from a middle-class dry-cleaner-owning family. They will wonder why Cho would commit such acts of violence, which we expect from Middle Easterners and Muslims and those crazy Asians from overseas, but not from hard-working South Korean immigrants. They will promote Cho as “the model minority” who suddenly, for no reason, went crazy. Whereas eugenic approaches depicting Asians as crazy kamikazes or Viet Cong mercenaries emphasize Asian violence, the eugenic aspect of the model minority myth suggests that there is something about Asian Americans that makes them less prone to expressions of anger, rage, violence, or criminality. Indeed, we are not even seen as having legitimate reasons to have anger, let alone rage, hence the need to figure out what made this “quiet” student “snap.” Given that the model minority myth is a white racist invention that elevates Asians over minority groups, Cho will be dissected as an anomaly among South Koreans who “are not prone” to violence—unlike Blacks who are racistly viewed as inherently violent or South Asians, Middle Easterners and Muslims who are viewed as potential terrorists. He will be talked about as acting “out of character” from the other “good South Koreans” who come here quietly and dutifully work towards the American dream. Operating behind the scenes of course is a diplomatic relationship between the US and South Korea forged through bombs and military zones during the Korean War and expressed through the new free trade agreement negotiations between the countries. Indeed, even as South Korean diplomats express concern about racial backlash against Asians, they are quick to disown Cho in order to maintain the image of the respectable South Korean. Whatever happens, Cho will become whoever the white media wants him to be and for whatever political platform it and legislators want to push. In the process, Asian Americans will, like other non-whites, be picked apart, dissected, and theorized by whites. As such, this is no different than any other day for Asian Americans. Only this time an Asian face will be on every television screen, internet search engine, and newspaper. Tamara K. Nopper is an educator, writer, and activist living in Philadelphia. She can be reached at tnopper@yahoo.com.

  21. Anonymous

    Don’t know where else to post this but here…

    What May Come: Asian Americans and the Virginia Tech Shootings

    Tamara K. Nopper
    April 17, 2007

    Like many, I was glued to the television news yesterday, keeping updated about the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech University. I was trying to deal with my own disgust and sadness, especially since my professional life as a graduate student and college instructor is tied to universities. And then the other shoe dropped. I found out from a friend that the news channel she was watching had reported the shooter as Asian. It has now been reported, after much confusion, that the shooter is Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean immigrant and Virginia Tech student.

    As an Asian American woman, I am keenly aware that Asians are about to become a popular media topic if not the victims of physical backlash. Rarely have we gotten as much attention in the past ten years, except, perhaps, during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Since then Asians are seldom seen in the media except when one of us wins a golfing match, Woody Allen has sex, or Angelina Jolie adopts a kid.

    I am not looking forward to the onslaught of media attention. If history truly does have clues about what will come, there may be several different ways we as Asian Americans will be talked about.

    One, we will watch white media pundits and perhaps even sociologists explain what they understand as an “Asian” way of being. They will talk about how Asian males presumably have fragile “egos” and therefore are culturally prone to engage in kamikaze style violence. These statements will be embedded with racist tropes about Japanese military fighters during WWII or the Viet Cong—the crazy, calculating, and hidden Asian man who will fight to the death over presumably nothing.

    In the process, the white media might actually ask Asian Americans our perspectives for a change. We will probably be expected to apologize in some way for the behavior of another Asian—something whites never have to collectively do when one of theirs engages in (mass) violence, which is often. And then some of us might succumb to the Orientalist logic of the media by eagerly promoting Asian Americans as real Americans and therefore unlike Asians overseas who presumably engage in culturally reprehensible behavior. In other words, if we get to talk at all, Asian Americans will be expected to interpret, explain, and distance themselves from other Asians just to get airtime.

    Or perhaps the media will take the color-blind approach instead of a strictly eugenic one. The media might try to whitewash the situation and treat Cho as just another alienated middle-class suburban kid. In some ways this is already happening—hence the constant referrals to
    the proximity of the shootings to the 8th anniversary of the Columbine killings. The media will repeat over and over words from a letter that Cho left behind speaking of “rich kids,” and “deceitful charlatans.” They will ask what’s going on in middle-class communities that encourage this type of violence. In the process they may never talk about the dirty little secret about middle-class assimilation: for non-whites, it does not always prevent racial alienation, rage, or depression. This may be surprising given that we are bombarded with constant images suggesting that racial harmony will exist once we are all middle-class. But for many of us who have achieved middle-class life, even if we may not openly admit it, alienation does not stop if you are not white.

    But the white media, being as tricky as it is, may probably talk about Cho in ways that reflect a combination of both traditional eugenic and colorblind approaches. They will emphasize Cho’s ethnicity and economic background by wondering what would set off a hard-working, quiet, South Korean immigrant from a middle-class dry-cleaner-owning family. They will wonder why Cho would commit such acts of violence, which we expect from Middle Easterners and Muslims and those crazy Asians from overseas, but not from hard-working South Korean immigrants. They will promote Cho as “the model minority” who suddenly, for no reason, went crazy. Whereas eugenic approaches depicting Asians as crazy kamikazes or Viet Cong mercenaries emphasize Asian violence, the eugenic aspect of the model minority myth suggests that there is something about Asian Americans that makes them less prone to expressions of anger, rage, violence, or criminality. Indeed, we are not even seen as having legitimate reasons to have anger, let alone rage, hence the need to figure out what made this “quiet” student “snap.”

    Given that the model minority myth is a white racist invention that elevates Asians over minority groups, Cho will be dissected as an anomaly among South Koreans who “are not prone” to violence—unlike Blacks who are racistly viewed as inherently violent or South Asians, Middle Easterners and Muslims who are viewed as potential terrorists. He will be talked about as acting “out of character” from the other “good South Koreans” who come here quietly and dutifully work towards the American dream. Operating behind the scenes of course is a diplomatic relationship between the US and South Korea forged through bombs and military zones during the Korean War and expressed through the new free trade agreement negotiations between the countries. Indeed, even as South Korean diplomats express concern about racial backlash against Asians, they are quick to disown Cho in order to maintain the image of the respectable South Korean.

    Whatever happens, Cho will become whoever the white media wants him to be and for whatever political platform it and legislators want to push. In the process, Asian Americans will, like other non-whites, be picked apart, dissected, and theorized by whites. As such, this is no different than any other day for Asian Americans. Only this time an Asian face will be on every television screen, internet search engine, and newspaper.

    Tamara K. Nopper is an educator, writer, and activist living in Philadelphia. She can be reached at tnopper@yahoo.com.

Comments are closed.