MU extends counseling service in wake of recent tension

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COLUMBIA - MU announced it will increase the number of available counselors for students, faculty and staff in light of recent campus tension, the MU News Bureau said Wednesday. 

The MU Chancellor's office sent out a mass email at about 12:30 p.m. in response to vandalism to MU's Gaines-Oldham Black Culture Center. The email reiterated the availability of more counselors and added there will be "counselors of color" present to help students. The email was signed by Hank Foley (Interim Chancellor),  Chuck Henson (Interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity)and Gary Ward (Vice Chancellor for Operations). 

Resources listed in both the email and the news release are MU's Student Health Center and the university's Counseling Center. The news release also listed the Psychological Services Center as a resource. 

When contacted for this story, an employee of the Psychological Services Center said there had not been a change in patient visits with recent campus events. The employee said this was most likely because the center does not accept walk-in clients.

The Student Health Center's Director of Behavioral Health, Craig Rooney, Ph.D. said, "We expect numbers to rise sharply as students begin emotionally processing the events that have happened this semester, particularly over the past week.

However, student Jalen Mosby said he is not sure how effective counseling will be among the existing cultural structure of the black community. 

"On my phone I have the page up online for MU Counseling because I feel like I need to," Mosby said. "But in the black community, it's so taboo to go to a counselor."

Although the services are for students and faculty of all demographics, Mosby said it's more traditional for the black community to turn to faith and family before reaching out to an outside source, especially when it comes to racial issues. 

"It's like I don't know how open I can be," Mosby said. 

While Mosby said he is not sure whether the efforts will be used by black students, he thinks the effort to create extra resources is a "big step".