Petition to Keep Dr. Lou Felipe at University of San Francisco
As Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) students and faculty; Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) students and faculty; School of Education (SOE) staff and faculty; and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff, interns, and postdocs at the University of San Francisco (USF), we have benefited tremendously from Dr. Lou Felipe’s extensive knowledge and expertise in the mental health field. In addition to being an exemplary professor, she truly embodies Jesuit values like social justice, cura personalis, and men and women for others. Anyone who is her student, advisee, or colleague can attest to her kindness.
In her Counseling Across Cultures course, she challenges her students to “change the world from here” by striving to be culturally competent and using their power and privilege to serve those on the margins of society. For example, in fall 2017, she took her students on a service trip to help the victims of the fire in Santa Rosa. She also took them to a lecture, sponsored by Philippine Studies, about the egregious human rights violations that Rodrigo Duterte has committed in the Philippines and asked them to think about how they could help.
Because she is a queer woman of color, she is able to help students engage with critical topics like ethnicity, race, sexual identity, and gender identity in a way that a white, heterosexual professor simply cannot. This is especially important given that the USF Campus Climate Survey findings reveal that LGBTQ students and students of color feel marginalized. Therefore, more than ever, USF cannot afford to lose a professor like Dr. Felipe-- someone who queer students and students of color often confide in and turn to for support.
Dr. Felipe offers open, compassionate conversation with her students, helping them to be allies to their colleagues, and to use their voice when they need to. She provides a space where counseling psychology students can process difficult parts of history, and where we can all feel invited to act, and to heal the world together. Outside of our USF community, this is especially important in today’s political climate where therapists are often turned to by those with different experiences to process losses and gains around civil rights and privilege. It is important to continue to have a model for working together and having hard conversations about oppression well, in order for us to make authentic social and internal change.
Dr. Felipe is not only devoted to her students and advisees, but also to the Counseling Psychology department. In fact, the MFT Program owes much of its success to the four years she served as Program Coordinator.
Dr. Felipe is an integral part of the MFT Program, Counseling Psychology Department, and USF as a whole. Dean Koirala-Azad and Provost Heller: Because it would be a huge loss to our community to lose someone of Dr. Felipe’s caliber, we demand that USF extend her contract.