Trigger warning: this article contains sensitive content.

GC preaches “culture for service” ... Was this decision reflective of culture for service?

Like many students, I’ve struggled with mental health over my time here at Goshen College. This semester has been especially hard. 

A school shooting at my high school in 2017 and other past events in my life left me dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, leading to a lack of sleep and constant paranoia anxiety.

On Feb 22, I was informed that I had too many absences this semester to pass most of my classes. 

I had sought help through campus counseling, the Academic Success Center (ASC), friends and family. 

Still, I was not getting to my classes and my grades reflected that. 

I was told I had two options at that point: I could either stay and fail my classes or withdraw from everything and move back home to Ohio. 

I made it clear that moving home would not be a good option for me.

I instead requested to keep enough courses to be a part-time student and stay in my Kulp dorm for the rest of the semester. The ASC told me that this was a good alternative and that going part-time “would allow [me] to stay on campus.” 

A day later, I was blindsided by an email that said that the housing committee would meet to discuss my situation and decide whether I would be allowed to stay on campus. 

On the Friday before spring break, the housing committee told me they denied my request to stay on campus. 

I appealed their decision that same day, saying that if I moved home, I would have no social support, no access to free counseling or a strong relationship with a counselor and no vehicle to get to work. 

Four days later, I received a response. 

The committee said that they “understand the challenges [I’m] facing” and “want [me] to find healing” — but they would not allow me to stay on campus. 

I had 5 days to get my room packed up, all my stuff moved out of Kulp and to find a place to live off campus.

During this process, I was told to “go home and heal” by people who do not know me or what’s best for me. 

If I were to run home every time things got hard, I would not learn how to deal with these issues on my own. The people who helped and supported me through this include my counselor, my professors, my friends and my family. Who didn’t? The housing committee.

The housing committee met twice to discuss my situation. I was later told that there is never a situation in which a part-time student would be allowed to live on campus. 

What were they discussing if there was never a question that I’d be allowed to stay on campus in the first place? I was not given the opportunity to speak to the housing committee face to face, nor to explain myself aside from one email. 

GC preaches “culture for service” and claims to care about the mental health of its students, but this decision made it clear that this is not always true. Was this decision reflective of culture for service? 

It’s too late for me to get a spot back on campus this year, but it’s important that we stop this from happening to others in the future. 

The mental health of students should be top priority and housing exceptions should be made. 

Do you really care about students if you won’t let them live where their support is just because of a few credit hours?