Paul Kim hired as new director of UC Davis Counseling Services

Campus News – The Aggie

Students, community express mixed reactions to Kim’s hiring

Paul Kim, the previous interim director of UC Davis Counseling Services, has been hired as its permanent director. His hiring comes on the heels of the controversial firing of former SHCS Director Sarah Hahn in Feb. 2018. He had been in this interim role since July 2018.

“Dr. Kim is a passionate advocate for students, a thoughtful and trusted leader and an enthusiastic colleague to campus and community partners,” said Margaret Walter, the executive director of Student Health and Counseling Services, to UC Davis News and Media Relations.

Milly Judd, the director of the Mental Health Initiative at UC Davis, however, has expressed concern about UC Davis’s decision to hire Kim instead of Ruben Valencia, the current chief of mental health at California State Prison, Sacramento.

“To be honest, I’m pretty disappointed in the decision to hire Paul Kim as the new Director of Counseling Services,” Judd said via email. “In my and many other students’ opinions, Ruben Valencia was a far better choice. In fact, we were worried that Paul Kim might be chosen mostly based on his previous ties to UC Office of the President, so the night before the final decision was made, a number of mental health organizations on UCD campus wrote letters as to why Valencia was a better choice.”

Judd, who said she participated in interviews and luncheons with both candidates, referred to Kim’s ideas and responses as “surface-level” and “short-sighted.”

A graduate of St. Mary’s College of California and UC Berkeley, Kim came to work at UC Davis in 2009. He helped establish the Community Advising Network and, in tandem with the Cross Cultural Center and the Asian American Studies Department, worked to increase minority student access to mental health care at the university. In 2014, he began working as the director of Multicultural …

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