Known to students in past years as the Behavioral Health and Safety Review Committee, the Student Support and Intervention Team is actively working this year to increase its presence among the student body and maintain a culture of safety and well-being.
Assistant Dean of Students Jennifer Dize, who has been in charge of the team since fall 2017, said that the name change took place because the team had “received feedback that [the previous name] was intimidating.” The current name of the committee has “two goals…to reflect the purpose [of the team] better and to make people aware of the program,” Dize said.
The 10-person Student Support and Intervention Team (SSIT) seeks to “provide a living and learning environment where all members of the Lafayette community thrive,” Assistant Dean and Director of Intercultural Development Liliana Madrid said.
Along with Dize and Madrid, the team is made up of Dean of Students Chris Hunt, Director of Residence Life Grace Reynolds, and other deans, administrators and staff.
Madrid said the team meets regularly to “process information shared by students, faculty, staff or other community members to identify students…in need of campus support and resources” and “work to determine the most helpful form(s) of outreach and support.”
The home page of the SSIT website contains a link to a “Student of Concern Form,” where students or members of the community can explain in details situations they felt necessary to report. The form is then reviewed by members of the team who decide what the next step should be based on the severity of the report and the safety of the student and the community.
There is a form for students to submit if they notice signs of distress in another student, whether physical, emotional or intrapersonal. Students are encouraged to follow their instincts when considering submitting the form, Dize said. Afterwards, they will be contacted with follow-up questions regarding the situation so that the team can gather enough information to be able to help as much as possible.
While the team does accept anonymous reports, Dize encouraged students to not choose that option as it could “limit the ability [for the team] to respond. Some students may have the same name, and we always like to ask follow-up questions,” she said.
When a student is reported, they can generally expect a phone call or email, according Dize. She said that depending on the circumstances, one meeting may be enough to solve the situation, while “more complex issues can take time.” Solutions may include a referral to a campus resource such as counseling, health services, gender and sexuality programs, or the Academic Resource Hub.
Dize acknowledged the confidential nature of the resource and states that she and her team are “asking for the community’s trust” and have been “showing transparency to earn [that trust].”
“Every report is reviewed thoroughly to decide what the best measure will be,” she added.