Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

Equity and Social Justice

Equity & Social Justice

We are committed to equity and social justice as a core value of our organization.

We provide services within a context that values the uniqueness of each human being and remains sensitive to cultural and individual diversity in the immediate and extended community.  This includes our respect for how race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, disability, and veteran status might impact a person’s experience in the Duke community and the larger societies and world in which we live.

We are committed to maintaining awareness that our various cultural lenses have an impact on how we view our colleagues and our students, and we remain committed to dismantling our biases. This commitment is guided by the professional standards and ethics of our diverse mental health disciplines. We commit to these diversity principles and policies out of our profound respect for each student, staff, faculty, parent, family member and colleague within our community. 

We consider all acts of violence, statements that promote hate and bias, and discriminatory acts to be attacks on the mental health of our community. We advocate for the humanity and dignity of all people by demanding equitable treatment for all when marginalized groups are targeted. We are focused on serving students from a social justice lens in which we offer culturally-sensitive clinical services, campus engagement programming, and training opportunities.

  • If you see something, say something.
    When you see discrimination occurring in your daily life, say something. However, avoid speaking for other groups of people, rather share your own viewpoints.
  • Recognize the difference between intent and impact:
    It can be harder to recognize discrimination that isn’t overt. Allies recognize that well-intended actions can sometimes have a hurtful impact. Allies are willing to listen from a non-defensive stance and are willing to understand the perspectives of students who experience overt and covert discrimination.
  • Challenge the behavior, not the person:  
    Encourage thoughtful dialogue by addressing racist behavior and language rather than accusing another person of being a racist.

Discrimination is a fact of life for many students on college campuses throughout the country based on their race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, country of origin, and documentation status.

Research shows that discrimination, including online discrimination, can have a profound impact on your psychological and physical well-being including:

  • Higher levels of distress.
  • Increased stress and worry.
  • Diminished sleep quality.
  • Increased hypertension and asthma. 

Discrimination can have a profound impact on your experience at Duke, including

  • Feeling isolated from the Duke University community.
  • Being left out of group projects/classroom collaboration opportunities. 
  • Feeling fearful, frustrated, and helpless. 
  • Difficulty concentrating in class. 
  • Decreased energy and sadness. 
  • Feeling pressure to prove yourself. 
  • Inclusiveness:
    Improve inclusiveness of organizations through responding to discriminatory campus behavior, partnering with a diverse set of campus organizations, and attending a variety of organizational events on campus. 
  • Conversations:
    Have conversations within your student organization about specific actions you can take to support and get to know a diverse set of student groups. 
  • Bystander Intervention Training:
    Engage in one of Duke’s various bystander intervention trainings.
  • Get Support:
    You are not alone! Talking with supportive friends, family, and mentors can help release stress and decrease isolation. We at CAPS are here to be supportive and provide a safe and confidential space to process your experience at Duke, including normative stress reactions to discrimination. 
  • Engage in self-care:
    Engage in behaviors that increase the mental, physical, and spiritual health that you experience in your life. These behaviors could include doing something fun, exercising, meditation and/or prayer, taking steps to get the sleep you need to feel rested, joining student groups, and connecting with other people.