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Feds give $4M in grants to U. Arizona for LGBTQ+ mental health

Students worry money will push ‘gender ideology,’ point to tuition increase

Nearly $4 million in grants to the University of Arizona for LGBTQ+ mental health services is raising concerns among some students.

The UA Southwest Institute for Research on Women recently received $3.7 million in federal grants, according to a university news release late last month. The two grants came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The money will be used to support mental health programs for LGBTQ+ youth as part of the UA institute’s mission to “develop, conduct, and disseminate collaborative outreach, education, intervention, and research projects of importance to diverse groups.”

But UA student Kunal Lobo told The College Fix he is worried the money will be used to push critical race theory and similar ideologies.

“Obviously, everyone – including LGBT people – can benefit from mental health services,” Lobo said via text message. “However, what they define as mental health services is not directly said in the press release, so I have my skepticism.”

“Given the mental health resources pushing CRT, it’s not a giant leap to think that they’re pushing gender ideology as well,” Lobo told The Fix.

He said he is “highly suspicious” that the resources mentioned in the grant “are not true therapy resources and rather the gender ideology version of it.”

The university institute will use the $2.5 million grant to fund its Spectrum+ program, which “provides sexual health education, HIV and hepatitis testing and HIV prevention navigation,” according to the news release.

Spectrum+ also connects participants with mental health services, according to the release.

A second $1.2 million grant will fund the UA Family Pride Initiative over the next three years, the news release states.

The initiative connects LGBTQ youth with mental health services “as well as training for parents, counselors and others who provide care to LGBTQ+ youth.”

The programs also will use the grant money to “conduct outreach with the Arizona Department of Child Safety and the local juvenile court system to reach youth and their families who may need these services,” according to the news release.

The goal of the initiatives is to address the “common experience” of LGBTQ youth, including “feeling rejected by family members for their sexual or gender identity.”

“In many cases, this can lead to family separation and even homelessness – an issue that SIROW has long worked to address,” said Shannon Fowler, co-project director for the Family Pride Initiative, in the news release.

While the university spends millions on these programs, student Ricky Guthridge, president of the UA College Republicans, pointed out that UA also is increasing tuition and struggling with massive debt.

Instead of funding initiatives like Spectrum+ and Family Pride, Guthridge told The Fix the university should use its money to stop tuition increases.

“The school constantly surprises me by mismanaging funds,” Guthridge said via text message. “While they are $240 million in debt, they decide to fund things that are unneeded for the community.”

The College Fix reached out to the University of Arizona’s media relations team, as well as representatives from the Spectrum+ and Family Pride initiatives for comment about how the funds will be disbursed, but did not receive any responses.

MORE: UC Santa Cruz gets $500,000 to combat ‘hate’

IMAGE: University of Arizona Southwest Institute for Research on Women

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Logan Dubil is a student at Point Park University studying marketing and sales. He also writes and reports for Campus Reform.