BY VICTORIA KRUKENKAMP
SC Managing Editor
In response to the possible retrenchment of The Department of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), three ESU students used change.org to circulate a petition addressed to Dr. Doreen Tobin, Vice-President of Student Affairs, and Dr. Marcia Welsh, President of ESU, for the purpose of excluding CAPS from the any cuts.
To date, Amber Soto, a senior psychology major, Hannah Wallner, a senior media communications and technology major, and Shannon Long, a junior theater major, have achieved more than 500 signatures on this petition.
“When I found out that CAPS was on the chopping block for retrenchment cuts, I immediately found Shannon and Hannah to discuss ideas of how to fight the cut,” said Soto. “Shannon and I worked on setting up the petition online because it seemed like a good way to reach a lot of people quickly, get a good number of signatures, and get information out there.”
Wallner, a member of the Honors Society, explained that she has a personal connection to CAPS that she couldn’t ignore when it was announced as a department under consideration for retrenchment.
“I had a lot of trouble adjusting to college, a hard time making friends, and difficulty with relationships. Because I had so much trouble with what should have been my support system, I really didn’t have a support system,” said Wallner. “The counseling center acted as that support system.”
“CAPS is a valuable asset to the student body because college is the perfect recipe for stress and problems,” said Soto. “It is important for the university to have CAPS set up for students to have somewhere they know they can go to find a person who will listen and can be trusted.”
In addition to the petition, the students also created a YouTube video to put a face to CAPS.
“Amber, Shannon, and I felt that a lot of the budget cuts are really focused on the numbers, and not on the actual people who could be hurt by the cuts,” said Wallner.“The YouTube vide was an idea that popped up in hopes that we could let the administration see that real people could, and will be hurt if we cut programs like CAPS.”
To further emphasize her cause, Long explained what CAPS’s value is to the student body, and what students’ roles should be.
“East Stroudsburg University is a home to its students. CAPS has been providing a vital service to this campus in keeping its students strong, and helping them succeed,” said Long. “We are not customers purchasing a product, we are students who truly care about this university, our education, and the mental health of our peers,” Long concluded.
Dr. Brenda Friday, ESU’s Director of the Office of University Relations, explained that the CAPS counselors are non-teaching faculty, and therefore have the same notification timeline as all other faculty in regard to possible retrenchment.
Like tenured faculty, tenured CAPS counselors must be sent their notification of retrenchment by October 30, 2013, should the department be included in the possible cuts.
Follow Amber, Hannah, and Shannon on twitter @KeepingESUCouns to stay update to date on the status of CAPS and their petition to exclude it from ESU’s potential retrenchment cuts.
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