September 28, 2011

SLC talks student health and safety

The Student Life Committee (SLC) convened for its regular meeting Tuesday to host a discussion on student well-being, with special guests Director of Counseling Services Dan Larson, Director of Multicultural Student Advisement Tianna Cervantez and representatives from Allies for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP).

Larson gave his annual report to SLC, detailing the numbers and trends he sees come through the counseling center throughout the last year.

There has been some concern in the past about the counseling center not having enough hours to support the demand for its services. Ten new hours per week were added throughout the course of last year, and Larson said those in his office are now feeling comfortable with those levels.

“We feel like we’re at full strength right now,” Larson said.

Larson said his office saw 21 percent of students, which is up about one percent from the year before, 24 percent of whom were already on medication and about 50 percent of whom had previous counseling.

Larson explained that the reasons students seek counseling throughout the year are moving away from academic concerns.

“We’re getting away from the academic stressors,” Larson said. “One of the trends is family origin problems and relationship issues.”

And for the first time, Larson said anxiety topped depression in the last year for the biggest reason that students seek counseling, but he added that this is consistent with national trends.

The committee had some discussion about what they would want to have given a larger amount of funding. Larson said they feel comfortable about clinical hours, but he said it would nice to have someone designated as a kind of “outreach coordinator” to provide education about some of the more common issues like sexual assault and substance abuse.

Cervantez talked about the sexual assault workshops which are offered to incoming freshmen during orientation week, and a discussion followed about how the Office of Student Development staff can ensure that everyone on campus is exposed to the workshop.

“I have extremely high expectations, and I let students know up front: if you are going to be a community member on this campus, you need to understand this,” Cervantez said about the ideas in the workshops relating to sexual consent. “Otherwise, you’re going to end up in someone’s office, and you’re going to be saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t know.’”

Panhellenic Council President and current ASAP co-chair senior Kristine Weller laid out her goals for ASAP this term.

“Our goals for this coming term and year are to make ASAP more known on campus and with other organizations and co-sponsoring events,” Weller said.

In her weekly report to the committee, Dean of Students Debbie Southern mentioned that two Greek houses have lost their privilege to host parties for the rest of the term due to policy violations.

Student Senate President senior Gordon Barratt reported a 42 percent turnout for Senate representative elections, up from about 15 percent last year, which had been the normal turnout for the last few years. Barratt also said that during the first meeting of the general assembly last Thursday, they were able to fill Senate seats on faculty committees, and the general assembly confirmed post-baccalaureate student Maxwell Galloway-Carson, ’11, as the interim treasurer.

SLC meets every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Borzello Hall 116. Its meetings are open to the public.

Charlie Megenity
Charlie Megenity (formerly Gorney) is a senior double majoring in political science and economics. He previously served TKS as managing editor and as co-news editor while working as the weekend reporter for The Galesburg Register-Mail. Over the summer of 2012, Charlie interned in Wisconsin with, an online hyperlocal news source, where he covered the August 2012 Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting; he will return to Patch during the summer of 2013. He is also the journalism editor for Catch magazine.. Charlie has received three awards from the Illinois College Press Association for newswriting and design, including a first place award for front page layout. He was the 2013 recipient of the Theodore Hazen Kimble Memorial Award in Journalism for a feature story published in The Knox Student. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post.

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