With the Sexual Misconduct Advisors (SMAs), the College has again decided to take away resources from the student body without a clear replacement. Where will students turn if they have questions or need support now that these changes have been made? We’ve written about the overscheduling and overworked counselors at the Counseling Center ad nauseum. Students who may have turned to the SMAs for support might feel negatively about reaching out to someone outside the Counseling Center, as good as the resources at New Directions — a potential replacement source of support — might be.
In a 2016 external review of the College’s Title IX implementation, it was reported that the SMAs were “the most frequently-used confidential resource” in addition to the Counseling Center. The SMAs have clearly been instrumental in providing support to students experiencing Title IX issues, and their confidentiality and 24/7 hotline have been integral to that support. Without them, their ability to help their fellow students will be diminished.
It is sometimes easier for a student experiencing a Title IX issue to approach a fellow student, someone who can better understand the particularities of that experience. But without confidentiality, they may be less inclined to confide in their peers.
We encourage Chris Smith, director of the Cox Health and Counseling Center, as well as other administrators, to really listen to students and consider what will most benefit them while negotiating the legality of these support groups’ capacities.
The staff editorial was written this week by editors-in-chief Bailey Blaker ’18 and Gabrielle Healy ’18 and managing editor Lauren Eller ’18. You can contact them at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.