SGO Facilitates Open Dialogue with C.A.P.S.

On Feb. 11, Student Government Organization (SGO) hosted a talk with Interim Dean of Students Jim Terhune and the head of C.A.P.S., Dr. David Ramirez. The talk was part of a new series run by SGO and was intended to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about C.A.P.S. and the Dean’s office, as well as ask questions.

SGO President Kat Capossela ’21 said that SGO hosted the event in hopes of creating an open dialogue between students, C.A.P.S., and the Dean of Students.

“SGO wanted to invite Dr. Ramirez of C.A.P.S. and Dean Terhune to this month’s lecture series because students have expressed much interest in starting conversations with C.A.P.S. and the Dean of Students Office. C.A.P.S. has also expressed concern about misinformation being spread on campus about their office and was excited to have the chance to speak to students directly. SGO hoped students would take this opportunity to learn more and ask questions about the two offices,” wrote Capossela in an email to the Phoenix.

Dr. Ramirez opened the event with a slide show presentation about C.A.P.S. He began by discussing the increases in the demand for C.A.P.S. services. Currently, C.A.P.S. has 624 clients which make up 39 percent of the student body. This includes people who see a therapist regularly and people who have only come to C.A.P.S. once and anyone in between. This is a 33 percent increase in demand for C.A.P.S. in the past four years and 110 percent in the past ten. Both Dr. Ramirez and Dean Terhune noted that this is a nationwide trend and not Swarthmore-specific. 

Dr. Ramirez cites this increase as the reason for recent longer wait times at C.A.P.S. Dr. Ramirez also explained that C.A.P.S has made significant changes following an external review, including hiring a case manager, hiring more diverse staff, extending counseling hours, adding walk-in appointments, creating an online form to request an appointment, and continuing to develop C.A.P.S.’s group therapy program.

The event was then open up to questions asked by SGO members that were drawn from a Google form sent out to all of campus, and then later from general audience members. 

Katie Reeves ’22, the Student Life chair for SGO, helped organize the event and pick which questions SGO members would ask at the event.

“We sent out a poll on the Swarthmore 2019-2020 Facebook page. We only received about six questions, three of which were about wanting to change the alcohol policy, so we added three or so that we thought students would really want to hear answers to,” wrote Reeves to The Phoenix. 

Overall, Reeves was happy with how the event turned out as a whole but wished there was a greater community turn out. 

“I would say the event went really well; it’s extremely important to have spaces for communication between the administration and student body on campus. Dr. Ramirez gave a very thorough presentation of CAPS development over time, current CAPS resources, and goals for the future. The only thing I was disappointed by was the low student turnout. Only 5 to 10 students came that were outside of SGO, and I know how strongly students feel about increasing C.A.P.S. funding,” wrote Reeves. 

In the future, SGO hopes to host more events with different departments within Swarthmore in order to create more dialogue.

“Akshay [Srinivasan ’21, Vice President of SGO] and I are meeting with VP of Admissions Jim Bock ’90 and Director of Financial Aid Varo Duffins on Friday, Feb. 28 to discuss possibilities of their joining us in March. Financial Aid and Admissions are always hot topics on campus, so we think it would be a great opportunity to give them facetime with the community. We are aiming to put on one event every month and a half or so,” wrote Capossela.

Photo courtesy of The Phoenix


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