USF University Of South Florida

University In Florida Denies Student Access To Mental Health Service Because Of Skin Color

USF University Of South Florida
University Of South Florida (TFP File Photo)

The University of South Florida apparently refused one of its students access to mental health services because he is white.

The conservative group Campus Reform recently reported that it had obtained exclusive emails and other documentation showing USF turned down student Andrew Davis for help because he was not a member of a favored demographic.

According to Campus Reform, the issue flared up last October. Davis found that a group therapy counseling seminar called “Understanding Self and Others,” or USO, did not fit his schedule.

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In an email to USF’s counseling center, Davis asked, “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. I am not a BIPOC student but was wondering if I would still be able to attend?” BIPOC stands for “black, indigenous, and people of color.”

In response, the counseling center told Davis, “Unfortunately, we do need to keep this space specific to BIPOC folks, as the topics that come up are going to be unique to those identities. Hopefully, you’ll be able to catch another one either during Winter break and/or next semester.”

Davis subsequently filed a formal complaint with USF’S Office of Compliance & Ethics.

Davis told Campus Reform that in one virtual session with the OCE to discuss his complaint, Equal Opportunity Officer Kenneth Thomas “asked me if I even knew what BIPOC meant and if I understood the importance of those groups having their own discussion.”

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

On Feb. 8, more than four months after Davis filed his complaint, USF responded, saying, “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.”

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