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Sunday, December 03, 2023

After the University Police Department shooting of Kofi Adu-Brempong on March 2, staff members of the UF Counseling & Wellness Center are making themselves available to students who want to talk about the incident.

Sherry Benton, the director of the Counseling & Wellness Center, said the center is willing to provide whatever support it can to provide for the needs of the campus.

Benton said the center’s Crisis Response Team responded immediately on the night of the shooting to be there for residents of Corry Village who heard the gun shots and saw the group of police.

“We got into action within half an hour,” Benton said.

The team stayed until about 1:30 a.m.

The night after the shooting, Benton said the center called a meeting for residents of Corry Village, UF administrators and UPD officers to talk about the incident.

Sheryl Quail, a Ph.D. student in the school of forest resources and conservation and a resident of Corry Village, attended the meeting.

Quail said some residents require counseling while others are focusing on organizing response groups in the wake of the campus shooting.

“I have heard that there are some who need counseling, and UF has responded to that,” Quail said.

UF counselors have also reached out to Adu-Brempong’s family members.

Benton said she met with Adu-Brempong’s brother and went with him to the hospital.

She said staff were also on hand during last week’s student rally and protest, making sure students had someone to talk to if they need help.

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“We’ve had a number of people talk about it with our staff in a variety of ways since then,” Benton said.

Students who have used mental  services include other residents of Corry Village, students in the geography department who knew Adu-Brempong and other international students.

Benton could not legally disclose whether or not Adu-Brempong needed counseling during the days leading up to the shooting.

Tong-An Shueh, an international doctoral student studying counseling psychology, said he did not know Adu-Brempong personally or visit the Counseling & Wellness Center but felt he could relate to his situation.

They are often far away from their homes, their families and are also learning a new culture and a different work and school system.

Shueh said Adu-Brempong was clearly in distress, and he wishes the situation was handled differently.

Shueh said he thinks the center does a very good job with helping international students adjust to their new situations.

He said he does not understand why UPD was called to handle the situation when Adu-Brempong was showing signs of distress.

“The crisis was handled mainly by police force, and I don’t think that’s right,” Shueh said.

Students can talk to counselors at the office in Peabody Hall or call (352)-392-1575.

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