Administrative Actions to Campus Climate Issues

Posted on March 7, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The OSU Healthy Campus Initiative seems like a rather ideal model with which to talk about his concept. The coordinating philosophy of the groups is to prepare for incidents and train and empower teams to respond effectively, document what is being done about specific incidents or issues on campus and help to restore a positive learning environment and uphold OSU’s education mission after an incident occurs. I have had the opportunity to sit in on several of the teams that make up the initiative and gain an understanding of how they all work together to address campus climate issues. The Critical Incident Response Team seeks to address issues concerning distressed and disruptive students as well as severe violations of the student conduct code, and/or state or federal laws. Here are my thoughts on what makes a great CIRT. The Bias Response Team seeks to prevent and respond to bias incidents on campus, while maintaining an understanding of students freedom of speech rights. The Suicide Awareness Task Force provides information to students and staff members about ways to recognize and respond to potential risks of suicide and also helps to respond to members of the community who attempt suicide and those in the community affected by attempts.

These teams were created by administrative action in order to deal with the changing dynamics of student issues with regards to overall health, wellness, and success as college students. Creating teams where staff and faculty members can share their expertise, report new and upcoming issues, and work to create lasting changes for the betterment of student success is a key administrative actions that will address campus climate issues appropriately.


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One Response to “Administrative Actions to Campus Climate Issues”

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Regarding Scott’s question regarding additional ways to address issues of crisis on campus:

We need to be diligent about staying on top of the various internal and external factors that could result in crisis on campus. These factors could include controversial speakers or events coming to campus, the increase in students suffering from mental illnesses on campus, students sharing their prescription medications, increased drug use or dealing on campus, the economic downturn, the ongoing wars in the Afghanistan and Iraq and the recent presidential election. When possible (illegal drug use, dealing) the student conduct code can be used to address such issues. Social norming campaigns can be used to get students up to speed on what is currently happening on campus so that the problem does not appear bigger or more dominant than it really is. At the same time, consequences for such behavior can be addressed. With regards to controversial issues on campus, it is important to ensure that public safety and other law enforcement is aware of situation that might require their assistance and that proper time, place, and manner restrictions are in place. Ensuring that the campus community is aware of the event or speaker and therefore is not caught off guard by the event is equally important. It is also important that the event coordinator is fully aware of their rights and responsibilities when they come on campus. Having places set up for debriefing the controversial information is also important. In house presentations like the Distressed and Disruptive Students presentation given by the Dean of Student Life office or outside speakers such as Ross Szabo can help to address faculty and staff concerns regarding issues of mental illness as well as provide them with numerous referrals to pass along to students and colleagues.

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