In a massive victory for the campus community, the administration has upheld its promise to acquire more resources for the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services. Following campus-wide advocacy for additional CAPS funding, the college has posted an opening for a new staff member that will provide counseling and other services as well as devoted time and funding to institute an efficient telephone-based assessment system.
Faculty and students should take pride in their efforts to put this issue high up on the administration’s list of priorities through the letters written and the social media campaigns that took place last semester. But President Tom Rochon should also be commended for living up to the promise he made in a commentary he wrote for The Ithacan last spring, when many doubted if he would actually do so, especially this soon.
Though the addition of resources to CAPS is obviously a success, it also offers an important lesson to students, faculty and staff, as well as the administration. As the college evolves, more issues and controversies will undoubtedly arise. With each new conflict, the administration should use the way it responded in the CAPS debate as a model and listen to the voices of students, faculty and staff alike and react in a timely and progressive manner that works in the best interest of the entire campus community.
Additionally, members of the campus community should use the instance of progress as a source of empowerment for future issues. It’s easy to get bogged down by bureaucracy and
multi-step processes and consequently forget that progress is actually possible. However, just as it is the administration’s responsibility to listen, it is the responsibility of students, faculty and staff to give them a voice to listen to by speaking out against injustices. And more importantly, there is no room for giving up. Had the rallies around CAPS stopped at a single letter to the administration or a brief meeting with college officials, it is likely that students would be left with far less than enough resources than they need to take care of their mental health. This triumph should be seen as more than a just a victory — it should be seen as momentum.