El Leñador strives to be the voice for those who are underrepresented. With that said, the devastating loss of our dear friend, colleague, and leader, David Josiah Lawson, has affected many groups of color on this campus. The events that took place during this tragedy were traumatizing, to say the least, for many.
In efforts to support individuals who have been affected, Humboldt State sent out an email informing students of the resources that are available to them during this difficult time. The email included, “Due to the magnitude of this tragedy, we have brought in help from other CSU campuses in providing additional therapists – Paulette Theresa and Lightfoot Wilhite,” both of whom are counselors of color.
The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers mental health support but lacks the unique aid that students of color need. This is exhibited by the evidence that it took a tragedy for the school to consider bringing counselors of color.
Lightfoot Wilhite, a visiting counselor from San Francisco State University, recognizes the disconnect students experience between the campus and the community.
“The answer is between the efforts to find somebody and enough attraction for them to come and stay,” he said.
The low retention is attributed to the lack of institutionalized support not only for students but staff and faculty of color as well. When asked why diversity is not reflected in HSU’s counseling staff, Wilhite mentioned the need for incentives.
Heightened in a time of tragedy and mourning, the need for a more diverse counseling staff has never been greater. The minute people of color step off this campus, they don’t feel safe, supported, or represented.
“In the week that I have been here, I have not seen a non-white student walking around alone at night, and it is kind of rare to see it during the day,” Wilhite said. “I have never seen people of color walking alone in Arcata.”