Wednesday, October 19, 2016

University of Florida offers counseling for students offended by Halloween costumes.

So, the University of Florida is going to be offering counseling for students offended by Halloween costumes? I'm so dumbfounded I can't even come up with something funny to properly make fun of this. For a myriad of reasons, which I can't get my head totally around, there's an epidemic of mental health issues affecting students at colleges and universities.

From my perspective I have students regularly emailing me asking for extensions or exemptions from tests, assignments, etc. based on some mental health issue, where the common refrain is "I have gone to the university's counseling services so that I can get registered with disability services (in order to qualify for alternate exam arrangements, etc) but the next available appointment slot is 2 months from now." Oh, and the student health plan gives students four hours of counseling (FOUR hours) before they're kicked to the curb and they have to find an off-campus counselor or therapist which they usually can't afford.

In other words, the demand for on-campus counseling services far outstrips the resources available to students, and I've heard from colleagues that this is also the case at other unis. So unless the University of Florida has a stand-out cornucopia of funding and personnel for its counseling services, then I can't understand why the hell this is even a thing.

The Misery

- Prof Poopiehead


  1. Yeah. If you're strapped for resources, they should be focused on areas where universities, arguably, have a responsibility to provide them. If someone's offended by Halloween costumes, they can stay in their apartment for six-eight hours. It's easy. I do it voluntarily all the time.

  2. I know that is the interpretation given, but I read the release issued by UF. UF tells students to be mindful that some costumes can be offensive--reinforcing stereotypes. Apparently, there was a group of knuckleheads wearing black face some Halloweens ago. The release talks more generally of all types of incidents that could erode the campus climate of "integrity, respect, and compassion." At that point, it reminds students of various avenues available for "troubl[ing] incidents. The headlines are distorting this issue.

    1. The actual blog post sounds pretty reasonable to me, too, but also like the sort of thing that results when someone is trying to take so many possible, wildly different, potentially hostile,audiences into account that they end up pleasing no one, and not really saying much to boot. Stir in some standard boilerplate about campus resources, most likely originally written for some other purpose, and you have a statement that manages both to be so bland as to be virtually meaningless *and* to contain enough ideas, assumptions, references, etc. likely to set somebody off that it's virtually guaranteed to get mocked, at best, on social media. In any ordinary year, it might set off a new round of stories on political correctness and free speech/expression, which I fear is going to become a Halloweeen staple in higher ed coverage, but this isn't an ordinary year.

  3. One of my colleagues came dressed up as a swimmer for Halloween. Er...he dressed down. He just wore a Speedo. And it showed everything. I now understand why students might need counseling for this.

    - Mathy Matthew

  4. At least this one wasn't linked to on Reddit....