By Christina M. Gonzales, Mar. 1, 2022
I took to heart the very personal experience about mental illness shared by Poly Post staff writer, Renee Walker in the Feb. 22, edition of The Poly Post. Without a doubt, meeting mental health needs represents one of the most critical challenges a university faces. I’m writing to assure our students that Cal Poly Pomona continues to prioritize and foster our mental health capacity, driven by a firm commitment to meeting the needs of our campus community.
I acknowledge the difficulties and stress many of our students are facing. I want to reaffirm that Cal Poly Pomona is committed to the health and wellbeing of our students. Recognizing that mental health must be considered as part of a holistic approach to promoting student wellness, Student Affairs has a coordinated network of support that closely aligns Counseling and Psychological Services with other critical student health and wellness resources including Student Health Services, Broncos Care Basic Needs Program, Survivor Advocacy Services and the Disability Resource Center. The overarching goal in this entire effort is to ensure that each student can readily and easily access the range of resources available to them.
As part of our commitment to student wellbeing, we are in the midst of a number of efforts focused on considering and continually improving our work:
· The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) is undergoing an external review of its policies and procedures, including welfare checks. The external review team consists of individuals in higher education and from state agencies who are nationally recognized for their expertise in providing holistic wellbeing support to a diverse campus community. The team will be visiting campus next week to meet with campus stakeholders, including student leaders.
· The university is in the process of developing an inaugural CARE Center for students — a one-stop office where students may receive holistic and culturally relevant resources and support. This office will come with new initiatives for student wellbeing, staffing positions focused on specific social identity groups and expanded resources and support.
· CAPS will continue to explore expanding culturally relevant services and resources and will work in partnership with units such as the Dean of Students, the Black Faculty and Staff Association, the new Chief Diversity Officer, the Campus Police and Safety Advisory Committee and others to create new initiatives and establish a restorative and comprehensive strategy around racial trauma, community policing and institutional stressors such as microaggressions.
· The university will continue efforts to develop and employ cultural consciousness training and educational opportunities, a new culturally responsive culture of care model and dialogues around community and collective care and radical hope. Feedback from students gathered through campus-wide listening sessions and a survey last semester on the development of a CARE Center at Cal Poly Pomona and a new Student Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office will also inform new programs and initiatives as well as the development of new staffing positions to support students more holistically in culturally relevant ways. The Dean of Students Office will be announcing additional opportunities this semester and beyond for students to provide feedback and get involved.
Most importantly, I strongly urge any students in need of help to please reach out to any of the aforementioned resources.
Likewise, CAPS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 909-869-3220.
To all our students — Cal Poly Pomona supports you. We are committed to your success as a student and your wellbeing as individuals. Please take full advantage of the resources available to you.
Christina M. Gonzales, Vice President for Student Affairs
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