U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

In the aftermath of the horrific display of hatred, violence, group supremacy and domestic terrorism by White supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, we at CAPS are aware of the impact this has on our students and our community (even though it is Summer and many are away from campus).

CAPS condemns the current and historical legacy of bigotry it represents and enacts.  We remain steadfast in our commitment to the provision of mental health services from a social justice stance.  Since this is just the most recent of many situations that have demonstrated hatred toward marginalized groups, we must acknowledge the frustration, exhaustion, rage and other feelings that grow with each event.  We speak out against all hate, prejudice, bigotry and every "ism".  We know that these are not psychologically healthy and impede development.  So, how can we not be against them?

We encourage you to seek support in a way that is most beneficial to your own self-care and to support one another.  As always, the staff at CAPS is available to meet with any student who may need to talk about their reactions.  Know that we are here to listen with empathy and to provide support to all students in a way that validates your experiences.

The CAPS Staff


See also Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors Statement:                

The Association for University and College Directors(AUCCCD), a professional association for the higher education leaders for college student mental health representing over 800 institutions in the United States and internationally, seeks to advance the cause of collegiate mental health through innovation, education, and advocacy. As an organization committed to inclusive excellence and the promotion of social justice, AUCCCD strongly speaks out against racism, discrimination, oppression, and violence in its many forms. On Friday, August 11, 2017, and Saturday, August 12, 2017, several White supremacist hate groups gathered on the campus of the University of Virginia and elsewhere in Charlottesville, purportedly to protest the removal of a Confederate general’s statue. The weekend was marked with violent clashes between various hate groups and anti-racism groups, leading to property destruction and the needless death of a young woman who was there to protest against racism and bear witness. Several other people were injured, some seriously. Two law enforcement officers who were there to keep the peace also lost their lives when their helicopter crashed.

As college mental health professionals, we have long known that hatred and bigotry and the perpetration of racial and bias-motivated violence are harmful to EVERYONE’S mental and physical health, including those who espouse it and those who are hurt by it. AUCCCD condemns language and behaviors that aim to harm and divide people. We also view college mental health professionals as having a responsibility to facilitate greater self-understanding, value individual and group differences, encourage and model respectful dialogue, and support the right of all people to live in communities that are safe and promote emotional well-being. As the University of Virginia and college campuses all over the country prepare for the start of a new academic year that is filled with much promise, there is much work to be done. The provision of counseling or therapy in the aftermath of harm is but one service that we provide to our campuses. We also must be educators, role models, and advocates who seek to create healthy learning and living environments that reflect the diversity of our campuses and our society and who seek to eliminate the harm that comes from hatred and violence.     

Association for University and College Counseling Centers Governing Board August 14, 2017                                    

See also Association of University and College Counseling Center Outreach Statement:

A message from the AUCCCO Board of Directors in collaboration with and under the leadership of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Subcommittee

August 16, 2017

In light of the recent displays of hatred and violence by a group of white supremacists toward communities of color and other marginalized groups in Charlottesville, VA, the Association for University and College Counseling Center Outreach (AUCCCO) wishes to speak out against racism and violence in all its forms.  We voice our solidarity with and commitment to our colleagues and students of color, as well as other communities directly impacted.  We acknowledge that this tragedy sparks deep pain, fear, anger, frustration, and exhaustion, especially in the context of historical racism and oppression.    

As mental health professionals, we seek to continue our social justice work to provide support and care to all who are impacted; to illuminate the traumatic effects of oppression, including racial-based trauma; and to work to eliminate systems of oppression as well as create safe, inclusive environments.  We acknowledge that there are some within our organization who have the lived experiences of racism and others who do not. Each of us has a responsibility to unite with individuals whose oppressed identities we do not share, to speak out against injustices, to encourage peaceful dialogue across differences, and to understand our own areas of privilege and ways in which we contribute to the maintenance of an oppressive system even unintentionally.  

We encourage everyone to care for themselves and one another, and also recognize that people respond to tragedies in many different ways.  We are reminded of the crucial role that Counseling Centers can play in reaching out to marginalized populations on campus and in our communities, as we strive for peace and respect for human differences.  Please know that AUCCCO, and our strong, resilient, and inclusive community is here to support you and your outreach efforts. We encourage you to use resources on our member site, as well as the listserv, to both share ideas and support one another.