The recent controversy over Mudd Goes Madd, a 5C party hosted at Harvey Mudd, brought mental health issues to the forefront of campus discussion. In an email addressed to the Pomona College student body, Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) explained the controversy surrounding the name of the event.
A number of students from the mental health and disability communities protested the name and the framing of the party on the grounds that it trivialized mental health disabilities, and that the concept of “going mad” has historically been used to discredit individuals with chronic or acute mental illness, especially those who are marginalized.
On the heels of this controversy comes October Disability Month, a collection of several events throughout the month designed to address mental and physical disability awareness. Sponsored by the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC), the variety of events open to all 5C students includes a painting of Walker Wall, National Depression Screening Day, a SDRC research library reception, a disability resources and accessibility fair at Harvey Mudd College, and a distinguished lecturer presentation to round out the end of the month. For a full list of all events happening throughout the month, visit the SDRC on campus or on its website.
The SDRC opened in fall 2014 and celebrated its one-year anniversary with a year-in-review reception this past Wednesday, Oct. 14. On its website, the center defines itself as “the centralized resource center for support for students with disabilities across the 7C campus communities.”
In conjunction with the disability coordinators on all the campuses, the SDRC works “to ensure that students receive academic support services and accommodations to empower them to achieve their academic goals, while ensuring equitable treatment and access to all programs and activities across all campuses.”
The SDRC also works very closely with the Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services, which is holding a number of events throughout the month of October. As with any new resource, publicizing the disability month awareness and events is a hurdle the SDRC has had to challenge.
“It’s cool that they have these resources, but I’m surprised they aren’t doing more to get the word out,” Natalie Slater PO '19 said. “I didn’t even know this was going on.”
Mental health and disabilities are subjects that can be very controversial and bring about many emotions and opinions, depending on different amounts of exposure and education. Disabilities can, therefore, be difficult to discuss in large settings such as the National Depression Screening Day.
“I think it’s a hard thing for people to go out so publicly,” Slater said. “I think that would make a lot of people uncomfortable.”