From Wesleyan Democratic Socialists:
Come to a meeting on Friday, November 2nd at 4:30 PM in the Resource Center to share your ideas and develop the demands of the CAPS Campaign!!!
This year WesDS is organizing a campaign around recent CAPS staffing shortages, and ongoing concerns about CAPS staffing and accessibility mental healthcare access at Wesleyan. If you were at Wesleyan in 2016-17, you may remember a similar “Wes Needs CAPS” campaign from that time, which resulted in new CAPS hires. As you can see, these types of issues are recurring, and we want to make sure Wesleyan addresses them sustainably so that we don’t have to continue fighting for adequate mental health care year after year.
As we organize, we want to make sure that this campaign takes the specific needs and concerns of marginalized students and identity-based groups into account so that we can fight for real transformative change in how CAPS supports student mental health. We have drafted some preliminary demands already, based largely off of the previous “Wes Needs CAPS” campaign and research we’ve done this year. However, we want to ensure that the demands we’re making are inclusive of all Wes students before we publicize and start organizing around them.
Please take a look at the draft demands and then come to the meeting to share your thoughts!
Date: Friday, November 2
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Place: The Resource Center
In the never-ending CAPS saga, we’ve received another update from the powers that be in the form of an all-campus email. Some highlights include:
- CAPS has received authorization to hire another full-time therapist in addition to the two full-time therapists have already been hired to replace the two full-time therapists who left.
- There is still no APRN/prescriber, though they “hope to have this position filled very soon”
- CAPS acknowledges that it is bad at connecting students to off-campus care (~understatement of the decade~), despite often claiming that students cannot continue using CAPS because they need “more intensive counseling and support than CAPS is able to provide.” To address this, they’re bringing in a consultant.
The full text of the email can be found below the jump:
On September 4, CAPS Director Jennifer D’Andrea sent an all-campus email alerting students of some alarming changes in CAPS staffing. Over the summer, there were “three unexpected departures from the CAPS team,” including Katie Scheinberg, the APRN that was hired in February 2017 as a direct result of the student-organized Wes Needs CAPS campaign of 2016-17, which had four major demands:
- Hire two new, full-time psychologists.
- Raise our half-time therapist up to full-time.
- Approve the hiring of a full-time Advanced Practicing Nurse Practitioner (APRN).
- Increase the CAPS operating budget for the first time in six years.
The other two departures from CAPS this fall were Lisa Miceli, Ph.D. and Amber Jones, LCSW. These staffing changes leave Wesleyan with only 6 licensed psychotherapists (most of whom are part-time or have significant duties other than providing counseling services to students) and 6 externs. This is the smallest provider pool CAPS has offered since I began at Wesleyan in Fall 2015. At the same time, CAPS is now severely understaffed for the task of providing counseling and psychological services to Wesleyan’s ~3,240 undergraduate and graduate students (including the largest incoming class of students at Wesleyan in the past two years).
Further context for the CAPS staffing situation and the full text of the email can be found below the jump:
“In addition to reduced wait times for initial appointments, as well as more regular ongoing appointments, we expect the increase in staffing will improve comprehensive services for sexual violence prevention and treatment and allow the team to continue building stronger relationships with marginalized students and student groups through outreach activities.” – Dean Whaley
Yesterday afternoon, Dean Mike Whaley sent out an all-campus email informing the student body that an additional full-time psychotherapist will be joining CAPS in the fall of 2017. This comes after the announcement of the hiring of a full-time APRN after more than a semester without a prescriber (part-time or full-time) on campus.
According to Whaley’s email, the new hires “will improve comprehensive services for sexual violence prevention and treatment and allow the team to continue building stronger relationships with marginalized students.”
The email, however, leaves out any discussion of the student-organized campaign and WSA resolution from last semester that originally proposed expansions in CAPS. Read past the jump for the full text of Dean Whaley’s email and more context on the student efforts that made this new staff position a reality.