Demanding Change for Rowan’s Mental Health Resources

Demanding Change for Rowan’s Mental Health Resources

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Maranda Jo Shinn started this petition to Rowan University

I am writing this petition to express my concern for the lack of mental health resources at Rowan.

As we all know, tragedy has struck this campus not only in 2019 and prior to this date, but this year, and as of recent, this week. This being said, my heart goes out to the friends and families of the victims who lost their lives to soon.

Not only has the governing body of this university done the bare minimum to help those close to the students who have since passed, they have seemingly done everything in their power to ignore the situation as though it never happened. I am not only infuriated and disgusted by the lack of effort towards the student body’s mental health, but I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed to be a part of a university that prides themselves on “innovation and change” yet will do nothing to change, or even acknowledge the atrocity that lay right in front of their eyes. It seems as though you forget that we are a university- a community brought together by higher education in hopes that we will change the future. Some might even call it home, and for others, family. We should feel safe here.

But what you have done in the past two years has shown to me that this place is far from home. It is merely another toxic business that wishes nothing for students but the money from our fingertips. Do better.

What conversations are you having with students to better your university? Because every time a negative situation is brought to fruition, it seems as though we are swept under the rug and forgotten about by the institution and kept alive by the students alone. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for college students. What are you doing to change this? What resources are you offering to those that struggle?

To delve into some information, according to Rowan’s website, the student wellness center has around 14 therapists on hand, while the student body is comprised of nearly 20,000 students. To put this into perspective, 1 in 5 college students will be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness (bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and so on). With some math, that brings us to 4,000 diagnosed students. This means that each therapist is responsible for 285 students. How? There are 168 hours in a week, and these people can not work for 24 hours a day. Oh, and not to mention, this doesn’t include anyone who’s just having a bad day, week, or year that has been pushed away from the Wellness Center like before. Now, I’m not necessarily a numbers person, but this seems quite ridiculous considering we keep expanding the school and promising the best for the student body. This is far from the best.

As a student body, we are not asking that you exhaust the 14 professionals that do care, but instead, offer more. As the governing body of this university, we ask that you care about your students and employees both. Hanging posters on the walls of buildings merely isn’t enough. This change is something that must be deep rooted within the culture of the university.

The tone of the university is one that must be set by leadership and all sectors of the school itself, not just students caring for students. This includes faculty and staff, as each of us has a role to play in change. No real progress will be made until this institution decides to promote a climate in which it values the well being of every single student.

Change starts with you. Do better, Rowan. 

Update: 11/10/2021

We have made the following 5 demands:

1. Commit to building a second Wellness Center Facility and expanding the diversity and availability of services. 

2. Immediately double the amount of general and specialized mental health professionals at Rowan. 

3. Dedicate funds towards investing in and innovating the quality of university wide mental healthcare. (Restructure the processes for providing care to remove unnecessary barriers to receiving help)

4. Improve academic accommodation accessibility to adequately include mental healthcare. 

5. Commit to more transparency with the Rowan community about tragedies that befall our friends, peers, and professors. 

We have allotted 5 days for the University to respond, and we hope to hear from them soon. If not, we will continue to fight as a collective whole until our demands are met, and until justice is served. 

Please click this link in order to see more details regarding our demands: Demands for Mental Health Action

We are asking Provost Anthony Lowman and the Board of Trustees to respond by the end of the day, 11/13. 

If you or a loved one is in distress, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or seek resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.


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