Dean Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz’s E-Mail to the University Community on the Advocacy Center
June 19, 2014
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Many of you have shared your thoughts and feelings about the recent decision, which was made based on my recommendation to Chancellor Syverud, to integrate and align the services of the Advocacy Center with the Counseling Center and the offices of Student Assistance and Health Promotion.
I know there are campus community members and other thoughtful individuals who don’t agree with this decision. Today I want to briefly explain why this change was made and let you know how we plan to do a better job of listening and responding to your questions and concerns.
Under the new structure, we have designated the Counseling Center to serve as the primary point of access for students seeking services related to sexual violence. The center has 17 trained staff members who provide advocacy and counseling services to students impacted by sexual and/or relationship violence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This designation was made because the Counseling Center is the place on campus that can offer students access to completely confidential and privileged services under federal guidelines and state law, similar to services offered at community resources, including Vera House and the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. This distinction is important because privileged services afford students the maximum privacy under law. We believe this is the right decision that will provide clarity to students affected by sexual violence and offer them a full sense of control and the freedom to make choices that are right for them the moment they reach out and seek support. At the same time, the University will continue reporting non-identifying, statistical data regarding incidents of sexual violence to the federal government and make that data publicly available.
While the Advocacy Center is no longer a stand-alone entity, the services it provided will continue and be enhanced under the new structure. I am pleased to inform you that Janet Epstein and Jill Sneider from the Advocacy Center have accepted positions in which they will continue to provide students advocacy and education services. Janet will be an important asset in the Office of Student Assistance and Jill will be in the Office of Health Promotion continuing to support student groups that do the critical work of sexual assault and relationship violence prevention education on campus.
I want you to know that in meetings, phone calls, and emails I, along with the Chancellor, have heard both positive and negative feedback from members of the campus community. I value this feedback greatly. As this new structure is implemented, I want to continue to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on how it can be shaped to best serve our students and address the suggestions and concerns we have heard. With this in mind, I will be hosting a series of listening meetings for the campus community in June, July, and August, and into the fall semester.
I invite you to join me at the first Listening Meeting, this Monday, June 23, from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. in the Panasci Lounge at the Schine Student Center. I know there will be many who won’t be able to attend this initial meeting so I will report back to you with a summary. Also, please feel free to share your thoughts with me directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 315-443-4263.
Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz
Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs