February 20, 2020

New Wellness Center Ahead of Schedule; Veteran Undergrads Share Their Story | Newsletter for February 20

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Good morning. In today's edition, The Maroon's ongoing mental health issue. 📰

The family of Charles Soji Thomas, a UChicago student shot by a UCPD officer during a 2018 mental health episode, spoke to The Maroon about their ordeal.

  • To better care for their son, Thomas’ parents have upended their lives, moving from their native California to Chicago, where their son is currently incarcerated prior to trial.Thomas is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.
  • “He needs care, not jail,” said Charles Thomas mother.
  • His parents are urging University administration to advocate for their son’s release.

The long-planned Health and Wellness Center will open sooner than scheduled: Autumn 2020 rather than Winter 2021.

  • University administration plans to use the structure to house the Student Health Service, Student Counseling Service, , and Health Promotion and Wellness together in one location.
  • The center has drawn scrutiny from  activists across campus. One group, Fair Budget UChicago, say they appreciate the change, but “are still waiting for public communication regarding qualitative and specific quantitative changes we can expect with the opening of the new center.”

In 2018, Student Counseling Services (SCS) referred more students to off-campus providers in an attempt to meet rising demand.

  • According to Faculty Senate meetings dating to 2018, the former director of SCS, David Albert, said that “Lately, it has been necessary to increase the percentage of students being referred out, in order to maintain equilibrium,”
  • SCS’ new leadership has prioritized decreasing wait times and introduced a 24/7 call line that connects students to a mental health clinician.

The first cohort of veteran undergraduates at UChicago relayed their experiences—from conquering calculus to coming back to school after years of military service/

  • The veterans discussed difficulties common to all new college students--ranging from getting used to a new city to conquering calculus--and challenges unique to their status as veterans, like finding purpose after service.
  • Said one veteran, Tyler Edwards, of being a Maroon: “ I think this is why all of us come here: to push ourselves to the limit, you know, to the absolute limit intellectually.”

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In Viewpoints

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