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Two U. Texas Austin Graduate Students Removed From Teaching Duties After Messaging Students About ‘Mental Health and Violence in Gaza’

Two U. Texas Austin Graduate Students Removed From Teaching Duties After Messaging Students About ‘Mental Health and Violence in Gaza’

“University officials said the social work graduate students did not have permission to send out the message”

Here’s a tip for everyone working in higher education. Don’t say stupid things about this situation.

From the Dallas Morning News:

Message about Gaza leads to removal of UT teaching assistants

Two graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin were recently dismissed from teaching assistant roles after sending a message to students titled “mental health and violence in Gaza.”

University officials said the social work graduate students did not have permission to send out the message, but the students said Friday that they did and are being unfairly punished for exercising freedom of speech.

In the Nov. 16 message, Parham Daghighi and Callie Kennedy wrote that they wanted to acknowledge “the mental health implications of the current escalation of violence in Gaza” and clarify that they do not “support the university’s silence around the suffering many of our students, staff, and faculty are experiencing on campus.”

Along with that message, Daghighi and Kennedy provided links to mental health resources available to students on and off campus. They wrapped up the message by stating that they “firmly support the rights and autonomy of Palestinians, Indigenous people, and displaced peoples across the globe, knowing that oppression results in trauma and negative mental health outcomes that can span generations.”

Less than a week later, on Nov. 22, both graduate students received a letter from a dean letting them know that they were “effective immediately … relieved of this work assignment” and “will not be reappointed as a TA next semester.”

After The Dallas Morning News published its story online Friday, the university offered both graduate students the possibility of other, unspecified work for the spring 2024 semester.

“It doesn’t specify what the work will be and we will not be teaching again,” Kennedy said in a statement. “So this still functions as a punishment.”


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On different but maybe related point, why are colleges trying to provide mental health services for students? Isn’t that beyond the scope of education? It is presumed that college students are 18 y/o and legal adults. Why can’t they seek mental health services off campus, or even take year off from college to work on themselves?

    Therapy is part of the training to be a good liberal.

      smooth in reply to irv. | December 5, 2023 at 11:17 am

      Couldn’t it possibly increase the college risk exposure to lawsuit? Student could claim that the college therapist misdiagnosed them, or used wrong counseling treatment, or couldn’t understand their lived experience of their race or orientation, or somehow failed them in some way and is responsible for negative outcome.

    davey1983 in reply to smooth. | December 5, 2023 at 11:58 am

    A lot of students demand it, so universities offer it to stay competitive (the dirty little secret is that, generally speaking, undergraduate education is about the same at all schools). Same reason so many schools build ridiculously nice apartments with all the amenities and create rec centers and so on.

    Plus, universities can then brag about how much they care about students, especially to nervous moms (and, as more time passes, nervous dads).

    henrybowman in reply to smooth. | December 5, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    It needs to be available for whenever reality starts insinuating itself through the cracks in the brainwashing.

    WindyHill in reply to smooth. | December 6, 2023 at 8:33 am

    This isn’t something new. Colleges were making mental health services available for students when I went to college in the early 1980s.

    bev in reply to smooth. | December 7, 2023 at 4:08 am

    CAPS (Couselling and Psychological Services) is offered at most if not all universities. Even uber conservative Liberty University offers CAPS. My daughter is a psychologist at CAPS at a public university in Virginia.

Oh, the people in Gaza have a mental health problem all right. It’s called fundamentalist Islam.

It’s ironic that students in this country, miles away from the actual fighting, feel the need for mental health counseling but would deny that, or anything else, to the actual victims of the terrorists–we are raising an entire generation of narcissistic crybullies

They “firmly support the rights and autonomy of Palestinians, Indigenous people, and displaced peoples across the globe”. Except Jews, who are indigenous to the Land of Israel and were scattered across the globe in a Diaspora. The TAs don’t support their rights and autonomy.

Freedom of speech guarantees the TAs the right to spread their poison, but not the right to do so as part of a university class environment. *That* is why they were disciplined.

The UT-Austin students were in the school of social work. As Pravda would have said back in the day, that was not an accident. A recent LegalInsurrection posting informed us about an aborted teach-in about the “October 7 counteroffensive” that social work students at Columbia had planned.

Unfortunately, the rot is not confined to schools of social work. Polls say that about half of those under 30 support Hamas.

One of the reasons mental health services expanded on campuses, goes back to the Almighty dollar. Tuition dependent campuses have every $ incentive to keep the student on campus. Hiring one or two more counselors helps the students stay in their education. I know this from a friend who is an administrator at a small private college. Then, she went on to say that most of the counseling was for things that the college kids should be able to resolve themselves like minor roommate issues, Time management, a little bit of resilience if you didn’t get an A on your paper. But it turns out these college kids were raised by helicopter. Parents and they can’t figure much much of anything out for themselves.

Then, consider a public state University. About 10 or 15 years ago there was a vast effort to increase the freshman retention rate. Again freshman coming to college don’t have people skills and God knows how bad it is now after the Covid lockdown so they hired more counselors but don’t have as many per capita that a private university would have.

Then take the larger private universities… They have more money, so they hire more counselors to keep all the students happy.

They were always be a small subset of the population that truly needs to seek out and receive mental healthcare when the students are in college. Many bona fide disorders, such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, depressive disorders, manifest at this age. Kids go through devastating family divorce. Serious illness like cancer may manifest. It’s incumbent upon every university to have mental health services. The only problem is that you take the helicopter parent era layered on with the Covid lockdown era, these young kids don’t have a compass. Lay that on with progressive liberal faculty that try to inculcate the college kids with utterly bizarre moral thoughts, and these college kids are all mixed up. They’re all screwed up. But after working on a public campus for 26 years, the progressive left faculty are making it worse and students that truly need mental health services can’t access them because other services are inundated with college kids with helicopter families that aren’t ready to be there. A vast majority of college kids today call their parents every day.

But they will still be on the campus getting paid to continue spewing out their own brand of hatred. How nice.