ICC CHANGE- diversity and recognition in the CIIS ICP program
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Please sign, if you agree, and are a member of the CIIS community. We want to engage in conscious dialogue. Thank you!
February 29, 2016
Dear President Subbiondo, and Barbara Morrill, Chair of ICP:
We, the undersigned, are concerned members of the CIIS community. We are asking for:
1) Transparency in the CIIS Integral Counseling Centers (ICCs) selection and rejection process for practicum placement for Integral Counseling Psychology (ICP) students
2) Clear and detailed affirmative action policies to address the lack of racial diversity at the ICCs, especially of note is the low number of women of color born in the U.S. accepted to the ICCs
3) Investigation into possible racial discrimination regarding the high percentage of placement of people of color in the mandatory pre-practicum clinical lab course that a small number of students are required to take for practicum placement, and the development of a transparent and helpful process around the assigning of this course, if the course continues, and apologies and refunds for the hurt students who were forced to take the class
4) A list of approved program supervisors that are racial, diverse, Transgendered, Gender non-conformist/queer and of different sexual orientations. We need this information and more for students to aid them in selecting a supervisor for practicum.
There is a clear lack of transparency in the CIIS Integral Counseling Centers selection and rejection process for practicum placement. It is a competitive process as there are limited spots available. Being rejected from the ICCs not only can create a huge emotional toll on the student-therapist rejected, negatively impact self-esteem, and send a message that the student is not ready or as competent as her/his/their peers to practice therapy, but also can delay graduation and cost a significant amount of money and time, since practicum placement is not guaranteed. The onus should not be on the rejected student, who is in the vulnerable position, to seek why they were rejected, but should be clearly communicated by the ICC directors.
We are seeking attention be placed on the lack of racial diversity at the ICCs because it is a disservice to the community served by the ICCs to have clinics with limited cultural perspectives, and a lack of racial diversity in the clinicians. Some clients in the community want therapists who are people of color, in order to feel comfortable and safe. It is also a detriment to the white students to not be practicing in community with students of color at the ICCs. It prevents the enriching of their perspective, and the lack of diversity decreases cultural competence. There has been shared sentiment from some students of color that they would never apply to the ICCs because they don't feel safe and welcome there. There are few people of the color also available on the list of individual supervisors and students have to dig to find these names. This creates a need for more parity in services and support for students of color at the ICCs and external practicum sites.
Finally, we have, either through our own observations or conversations, noticed a trend of a high percentage of people of color being placed in the pre-practium Clincal Lab course, which is mandatory only for some and required for practicum placement. We believe this could be demonstrative of racial prejudice, whether unconscious or not, and needs to be investigated and policies need to be put in place to prevent this trend from continuing. We are not sure if this class is continuing. If it is, we are asking that students who are placed in this pre-practicum lab class receive clear, on-going transparent evaluations and feedback, that are available on myCIIS, around why they are placed in this class, receive continuous support around the reasons they have been assigned to this class, and the option of appealing having to take the class. Students who take this class should be guaranteed placement at the ICCs, and the course fee should be waived. Even if this class is discontinued, hurt students deserve an apology from the school and a refund.
Race is not the only issue of diversity concern at the ICCs. We hope that this petition will encourage further examination of the lack of diversity in other ways at the ICCs and contribute helping the ICC selection process be more in the spirit of the CIIS 7 ideals. We have been in conversation with the Dean of Diversity, Denise Boston, and the Dean of Students, Yunni Yip, and want to be in continued conversation. Thank you for your prompt attention to our concerns.
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