AUCCCO COVID-19 Impact Statement
As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID -19) continues to spread, our hearts reach out to the many across the globe who have been affected by this disease. Many have paid with their lives, and many more are dealing with the infection and symptoms, have lost their loved ones or worried for them, are losing their income, losing their freedoms, and living in fear of the disease and its impact. A disproportionately larger number of individuals, however, are living in fear and experiencing the pain of rising instances of xenophobia and racism.
Historically, infectious disease has generated racist discourse that blames victim populations for the perceived threat. Such discourse is not only distasteful but has major consequences by giving free rein to racist, discriminatory behaviors and justifying political responses that threaten human rights. In recent history, we saw a similar wave of xenophobia during the SARS outbreak in 2003, during the h1n1 swine flu outbreak in 2009, and Ebola outbreak in 2014 to name a few.
The responses to this outbreak of the COVID-19 has been no different. We are hearing about incidents in which the virus is referred to as the “Chinese” virus, the yellow peril, and those who appear to be of Asian descent and students who wear masks for various reasons are being stigmatized, subjected to racist and/or xenophobic jokes and remarks, and excluded by those fearful of contracting the virus. Many of our international and domestic students, staff, and faculty with loved ones abroad are concerned about families. There are fears around the ability to return home due to travel bans. In this already stressful time they also might end up facing painful discrimination that can result in physical, emotional, and economic consequences for them. These developments are causing harm to many on our campuses and add to the stress already present in our competitive academic environments.
We at AUCCCO wanted to offer our condolences, express our concerns, and to encourage our community to stand strong together against prejudice and racism during the time of ever-evolving public health emergency. Here are some suggestions on what your center might consider doing:
About the illness itself and minimizing the bias-based harm to students:
Support for the impacted student communities:
Responses by university campuses:
Welcome to AUCCCO!
The Association for University and College Counseling Center Outreach (AUCCCO), is a national organization of counseling center professionals who are passionate about outreach. We are akin to the counseling center associations for Directors, Training Directors and Clinical Directors. We officially announced the establishment of our organization on June 5, 2009 at the University of Michigan during the closing ceremonies of our 2nd National Outreach Conference for Counseling Centers.
The mission of the AUCCCO is to assist professionals involved in the leadership of outreach, consultation, and campus community interventions. AUCCCO provides opportunities for networking, professional identity development, idea exchange and creating standards for quality outreach services. AUCCCO promotes a broad understanding of outreach, prevention and education services based on the assumption that outreach must extend the expertise of counseling centers to the larger campus community. AUCCCO recognizes that, as the campus climate has a profound influence on students’ lives, outreach services must be informed by perspectives that address the intersection of multiple social identities, promote social justice, and celebrate diversity in all its forms.
If you are interested in joining AUCCCO, please find more information here.