As NYU’s leading organization in celebrating and advocating for diversity, the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs offers many resources to ensure that students of various social identities can feel safe and included at NYU.
In partnership with other organizations, CMEP collaborates on services such as LSAT preparation courses, confidential HIV tests and a 24-hour bias response line for reporting incidents of bias, discrimination and harassment.
At the start of the semester, CMEP introduced a new therapist to their program, Dr. Jonathan McClain, who is now available for counseling, group therapy and psychological consultations for the NYU public.
McClain worked for a number of college counseling centers, and in his career has always sought to offer guidance to students of color. He aims to provide a safe environment for them to express and explore their history, identity and any challenges they may face as a marginalized population.
“I think our social-cultural identities are who we are, and you can’t separate them from our lived experience or the distress it might cause,” McClain said. “So thinking about race, especially in the current climate of our country, I think that there could be a cumulative effect on what that does to one’s overall health.”
Along with providing a space where students can explore their unique narratives, McClain offers a place of support for those afraid of being stigmatized for reaching out for help.
“I hope to decrease the stigma of mental health care in many communities that are marginalized, especially with folks of color,” McClain said. “I strive to make this feel like a space where people feel generally cared for and understood.”
CMEP program administrator Amani Walker emphasized CMEP’s close relationship with the LGBTQ Center.
The LGBTQ Center is CMEP’s sibling office and the the two often support each other in small and large scale campus events alike, such as MLK and Ally Week. A recent example of their joint programs is the Horizons retreat, an event that started last semester for queer and trans students of color.
“I think that [the retreat] was really powerful because I feel like there aren’t really enough spaces for queer and trans students of color,” Walker said.
Another ongoing program that CMEP has is its FOCUS Program, which emphasizes guiding and mentoring first-generation students of color through their first year at NYU.
Steinhardt graduate student Sonia Gonzalez, a FOCUS program mentor, believes that first-generation students of color face specific problems that require a specific kind of support.
“The experience of students of color on any college campuses, particularly predominantly white institutions, is definitely impacted by their social identities, especially when they’re visible,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said FOCUS brings different departments and offices together to discuss what they can do to support students of color and first-generation students
“Helping our students problem solve and figure out the root of the issues they may be having, or even just lending an ear for a student to vent is important and something I wish I had more of in my college experience, so I really like bringing it together with our mentees” Gonzales said.
Email Alesha Bradford at [email protected]