EDITORIAL: A push for diverse counseling staff will help students feel they are understood

Counselors’ jobs are to give advice to students in any form or fashion. They also help to guide the student to the better and safer answer. It helps when the counselor has been through what the student has, so they know what to say to make them feel better. It’s about time that there should be black counselors to reflect the black community on campus.

SFA junior Robin Branch got great feedback from her Twitter poll asking if there should be a black counselor involved in Counseling Services, with majority of the votes saying “Yes.” According to this poll, people seem to want someone who comes from the same background as them. For example, women often feel more comfortable when they can make an appointment with a woman doctor. There’s a good number of stories out there of women saying they went misdiagnosed because their male doctor told them they were exaggerating and making things up. Another example is people who identify in the LGBTQ+ community. They want to talk with someone who either identifies the same as them or at least has family members/friends who have been through the same as them. They wouldn’t want to trust someone with something as personal as their sexual identity with someone who might not understand their struggles. People have different experiences, and being forced to ask someone who isn’t from the same background and who may not understand where you came from will make the situation worse.

People want to feel comfortable with who they confide in. They want a counselor who has been in their shoes so that the counselor can tell them things that will help them based on the counselor’s own past experiences. Why make someone feel uncomfortable asking for advice from someone who is the opposite of who they are? Why make a black student confide in a white counselor, a woman confide in a male doctor, or a person who falls under the LGBTQ+ community confide in a straight person?

Underneath the Pine Log’s Facebook post of the article explaining Branch’s reasoning for posting the poll, there are some comments saying that race should not be the factor in determining who should get the job, and it should go to the most qualified person who applied for the position.

However, SFA wanting to reflect the diverse student body with the faculty should not be an argument.

It should already be implemented to give the students a better environment throughout their college years.

According to the same article, SFA is encouraging people of color to apply for the counseling position, which is reassuring. Just the little step in the right direction gives the students hope that the school is wanting to make the environment welcoming and open for everyone. Students need to feel like they are given the right advice in their specific circumstances by people they feel comfortable with. That is something that cannot be achieved with those who don’t fully understand what they are going through and give them outsider advice that might possibly lead to the wrong path.

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