Mental and Behavioral Health
This May, Mental Health Awareness Month, the U.S. government, at both the federal and state level, has announced new efforts to tackle the national mental health crisis, particularly for young people. After publishing an advisory on the country’s loneliness epidemic, the U.S. Surgeon General released another this past week on Social Media and Youth Mental Health. The White House also issued two briefs, one describing plans to expand and strengthen mental health services for all and another focusing on protections for youth mental health, safety and privacy. Then, in Delaware, WMDT reveals two student-centered bills have passed as part of the 2023 Delaware Behavioral Health Package, while in Washington, Seattle is directing $4.5 million to a mental health pilot for five of its schools, according to The Seattle Times.
EdSource reviews a new report from the College Futures Foundation, revealing that colleges and universities “should take more responsibility for students’ mental health” by addressing both service delivery and campus culture.
In an op-ed for the ABA Journal, David Jaffe, dean of students at American University Washington College of Law, urges law schools to tackle the legal profession’s “drinking problem,” and the mental health implications therein.
The Associated Press explores how early encounters with racism for Black children, which can begin before they even enter school, lead to worse mental health throughout their lives.
In The Boston Globe, Harvard graduate student LaShyra Nolen suggests college students should receive evaluations for not only their academic performance but their character — “for being a well-balanced and decent human being.”
In Inside Higher Ed, the latest Student Voice survey finds that more than half of college students reported experiencing chronic stress, a damning indicator given the correlation between stress and mental health challenges.
Inside Higher Ed describes the “layered approach” Ohio’s Columbus State Community College is taking to mental health services, including well-being coaching and mental health counseling, both on-campus and online.
Also from Inside Higher Ed: The University of California, Davis is one of the growing number of universities addressing the academic and mental health needs of minority students by offering services through cultural centers.
Diverse Education covers a new partnership between New England College and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services: a degree program to train mental health providers in light of the shortage.
On NPR, three members of this year’s graduating high school class, who were forced to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic starting their freshman year, discuss their experiences and share reflections.
NPR also features a new app, powered by artificial intelligence, which high school senior Siddhu Pachipala developed in Texas to review text samples from young people and assess their risk of suicide.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Inside Higher Ed suggests the final demographic breakdown for incoming college students could be bleak, as a survey of 25,000 high school seniors identified significant gaps between the number of students who wanted to attend college and those who thought they would—especially for male, Latino and Black students. An op-ed in The Hechinger Report from Karen Stout, CEO of Achieving the Dream, further emphasizes the need to “raise awareness of solutions and introduce policies that will reverse the trending inequity” for aspiring and current Black college students.
The Chronicle investigates “the newest admission ploy,” whereby wealthy families are leveraging their privilege to help their children in high school become “peer reviewed” authors and propel them into elite colleges.
For The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg draws attention to an ongoing lawsuit in which a free expression organization, publishing company and several authors are accusing Escambia County in Florida of instituting book bans that are “unconstitutional.” The case has national implications, Goldberg insists, for showcasing “something toxic” that extends far beyond one country’s borders.
In the college setting, faculty continue to come up against their institutions over academic freedom-related incidences. At Houghton University in New York, The New York Times reports two professors have accused the Methodist institution for firing them after they refused to remove their pronouns from their email signatures. And in California, The Chronicle says an applicant for a position at the University of California, Santa Cruz is now suing the university system for its use of diversity statements in hiring, which he believes unjustly disqualified him
Some students at Texas A&M University at Commerce worried their degrees were in jeopardy after their professor accused them of using the artificial intelligence tool Chat GPT to write essays and informed them they would receive an “incomplete” for the class, The Washington Post discovers. “I will not grade chat Gpt s***,” the professor wrote on one student’s assignment.
Diverse Education reports the Texas Senate approved a bill that would allocate $430 million over two years to its 50 community colleges, distributing the funds based on the schools’ records of degree attainment.
Inside Higher Ed reveals how students at Scripps College in California can improve their financial literacy and salary negotiation skills by signing up for opportunities to learn from alumnae and career services staff.
According to Higher Ed Dive, states including Massachusetts and New York now require public colleges and universities to provide abortion medications to their students. While these states have not been subject to abortion bans like some others after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, they are interested in increasing access to reproductive services in part to address increased demand from those coming from out of state.
Sexual Assault & Title IX
Also in Higher Ed Dive: The public comment period for the Biden Administration’s Title IX rule proposing transgender student athletes may be banned from sports teams in certain circumstances closed last week. The proposal inspired more than 150,000 comments, with some pushing more increased inclusivity of trans students and others suggesting they be banned from sports completely.
The Guardian explores the crisis of food insecurity affecting college students across the country, leaving nearly a third of them short-stocked and inspiring investment in more on-campus food resources like pantries. Hunger is taking a toll on younger students and their ability to learn, too, as high school sophomore Addario Miranda writes about his own challenging experience for WBUR.
The Chronicle covers the impact of an emergency aid program at Milwaukee Area Technical College, called FAST (Faculty and Students Together) Fund, offering small grants around $275 each to support students’ basic needs. “Just a few hundred bucks can spell the difference between dropping out and staying enrolled, between having an apartment and having nowhere to sleep, between hope and game over,” the program’s directors have found.
As Congress mulls over whether to raise the federal borrowing limit, the U.S. government anticipates not being able to pay its bills, and The Wall Street Journal considers the impact on student borrowers: While they would be posed not to receive the federal aid they need if the ceiling is not raised, they could also be saved the trouble if Congress comes to a decision before mid-summer.
Meanwhile, Biden’s efforts to ensure the realization of his student debt relief plan continue amid Republican attempts to thwart it, including with an upcoming House vote, Politico says. As the future of this initiative hangs in the balance, Diverse Education finds the Department of Education looking for other ways to protect student borrowers, proposing to prohibit federal aid for programs that tend to leave graduates with “unaffordable debt” or without adequately gainful employment.
In the latest turn of the case involving the murder of four University of Idaho students last year, The New York Times reveals the accused killer, Bryan Kohberger, has been indicted by a grand jury and will be arraigned next week. A criminology PhD student studying near the Idaho campus, Kohberger is suspected of having broken into an apartment in November and killing four people inside, all between the ages of 20 and 21, to whom he does not appear to have been previously connected.