There has been a wide array of organized discussions of the political implications of the war in Iraq on Temple University’s main campus, but little in the way of emotional support for students.
Tuttleman Counseling Services’ Conflict Education and Resource Team (CERT) has been hosting sessions where students can go to talk with other students about their concerns and feelings of confusion or depression because of the war.
No preference is given to any one viewpoint, and the students lead the discussions.
The sessions are held at 11 a.m. every Wednesday.
On warm days, the groups are held outside on the lawn at the corner of Liacouras and Berks walks.
Otherwise, the group meets in room 20 in Sullivan Hall. A member of CERT, who does not attempt to influence of steer the discussions in any way, oversees the groups.
“We intend to provide a safe and comfortable environment for students to express their views and concerns about the war and the current times,” said CERT graduate supervisor Jamie Wilkey.
“The discussions are facilitated by the students, and there is no pressure to see any one side of the issues.”
The groups are different from the recent teach-ins the History Department has been conducting about the war, because the faculty is not there to guide the discussions or offer their views.
The CERT groups are also not debates, which focus on persuasive arguments.
“We feel the discussions are good for the general dialogue between students at the University,” Wilkey commented.
“The topics for the discussions change weekly to reflect the changes in the news.”
The sessions are an extension of a program that CERT offered earlier this year.
CERT posted message boards around campus where students could jot down their views on the conflict with Iraq. There were over 200 responses by the time the project ended.
“We also wanted to make these groups a natural extension of those message boards,” said Wilkey.
“The open atmosphere encourages students to say what they really feel about these issues. We are hoping that the response for these sessions will be as positive as it was for the message boards.”
CERT is a branch of Tuttleman Counseling Services (TCS).
CERT works to promote conflict resolution within interpersonal relationships through the discussion of cooperative options.
TCS is a University umbrella organization that offers a range of group counseling and educational workshops.
Their services are available to students at any time to assist in navigating the rigors of college life.
TCS has a staff of professional psychiatrists and counselors that are available to provide short-term assistance for a variety of issues.
The Sexual Assault Counseling and Education program deals with issues such as domestic violence and sexual harassment.
The Campus Substance Abuse and Awareness program is also under the TCS umbrella.
The facilities for these programs, like CERT, are all located on the lower level of Sullivan Hall.
Eric Raible can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.