CPS Creates New Support Spaces for AAPI Students


Fordham CPS provides new supports spaces for AAPI students in response to uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes and racism. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Fordham’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) started a new support space program for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students in April.
“These free drop-in sessions will offer a safe, supportive and non-judgemental space for students who identify as a member of the Asian and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) communities in any way, shape or form to process their experiences given the rise in the violence, racism and hate crimes against the AAPI community,” according to CPS’s flyer created about the support space.
Dr. Kahlen Kim, a postdoctoral psychology fellow at Rose Hill, was one of the members of CPS who spearheaded the idea for support spaces.“I am a Korean living in the United States. I knew all too well what it was like to live in this country as an Asian ever since I took a step into this country and since the COVID outbreak,” Kim said. “And as a postdoctoral psychology fellow at CPS, I had opportunities to provide workshops on what it means to be Asian in the States. However, when the Atlanta spa shootings happened, I knew that it was important to up my game and come up with something more than a single-session workshop.”
Kim said she collaborated with her Lincoln Center colleague Ji Yu, Psy.D., about hosting a drop-in support space for students who identify as members of the Asian and AAPI population. She said the two were able to put the program into motion with the support of CPS.
“The idea came from the recognition that our Asian and AAPI students may be feeling more vulnerable and distressed in the context of the increasing anti-Asian rhetoric, sentiments, racism and violence in our city, nation and sociopolitical climate,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ng, Director of Fordham CPS. “Developing programs and resources to respond to student and campus needs is part of the work we do regularly.”
Kim said the support space is a place where students can process their experiences, be heard and be validated given the rise in violence, racism and hate crimes towards the Asian and AAPI communities. Kim said CPS believes this will help students process the experiences and trauma.
The sessions started being offered on April 5, and Kim said they plan to hold the sessions through the end of this semester. Ng said continuation after that would depend on students’ needs.
“We would continue to provide the space or develop a different space based on students’ interest, needs and participation,” he said.
In addition to this support space, CPS also offers a variety of resources for all students, including Asian and AAPI students, to take advantage of, such as short-term individual therapy, group therapy, walk-in hours, workshops and more.
Ng said Asian and AAPI students can request to be matched with AAPI identifying counselors. They also have a counselor who specializes in working with Asian international students and can provide services in Mandarin if needed.
He said they also held multiple workshop presentations focused on Asian and AAPI mental health, well-being and allyship in the context of the current anti-Asian climate. They also have a list of mental health and advocacy resources specifically for Asian and AAPI students.
Kim added that even if students do not come to these support sessions, she hopes they still take space and time to process what they’re going through.
“My wish for you is that you will create space to grieve and process all the trauma you have been enduring. I hope you will not minimize, invalidate or obscure your experiences,” she said, directed at Asian and AAPI students. “Don’t do what has been done to you to yourself. Start validating your experiences. Your experiences matter. Remind yourself of that.”
The support space is open from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday. Anyone interested in the Asian and AAPI support space sessions at Lincoln Center can contact [email protected], and anyone at Rose Hill can contact [email protected] for the Zoom link to the support space.