Following a simple polite e-mail I authored, an event sponsored by Marywood University which specifically excluded male students is now inclusive.
Two days ago, I received an e-mail addressed to Marywood University’s Mental Health Counseling students — of which, I am one — containing an invitation for a school-sponsored volunteer opportunity. The e-mail invited students to work with girls attending high school through an initiative dubbed The Magnolia Project…but specifically excluded male students stating, “…only women counseling students will be able to take part in this volunteer opportunity.”
I was astonished upon reading this e-mail because many classes and a counseling conference I attended stressed the importance of counselors and counselors-in-training having what is considered multicultural competency – the ability to effectively work with diverse populations, fostered through experience and research.
Further, Marywood University Mental Health Counseling students are required (and encouraged) to volunteer with the on-campus organization Chi Sigma Iota. Unfortunately, most of the volunteer opportunities I have seen are not close to my home or place of work. Since The Magnolia Project, located in Wilkes-Barre, offers more options for students, it is additionally unfortunate that a portion of students — including myself — would be excluded.
Counselors and counselors-in-training should expect to work with diverse populations — high school girls included — and should not be specifically excluded from a volunteer opportunity because of a biological demographic. Marywood University — adhering to the values set forth in the Mental Health Counseling program — should simply not sponsor an event which specifically excludes a biological demographic.
Rather than ‘blasting’ Marywood University, charging them with discrimination, shaming people, and creating nasty online petitions [as is fashionable nowadays with the ‘social justice warrior’ crowd], I gave Marywood University the benefit of the doubt and believed that if I expressed my concerns change would happen.
I authored a simple e-mail, was later informed that there was a miscommunication, and was personally invited to volunteer for The Magnolia Project. A simple ‘awareness-raising’ e-mail resulted in change.
Kudos to Marywood University and individuals representing Marywood University for including men and not engaging in exclusion of people based on a biological demographic. I hope to volunteer and grow from the experience.
While I have not always agreed with decisions made by Marywood University — specifically the continued inclusion of a chiropractor who promotes junk science through distributed literature, claiming that chiropractic removal of “vertebral subluxations” can cure asthma and blindness (among many other maladies), at a student health fair — I am happy with the decision to now include men in a volunteer project. Hopefully the chiropractor can be the next to go.
As always, feel free to comment below.