Students going through a difficult time academically or emotionally may find help with OCCC’s Campus Area and Response Evaluation program. Developed after the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, the CARE program is designed to reach out to students who may be going through a difficult time.
Learning Support Specialist Mary Turner said students can be referred for any number of reasons.
“We are currently advertising it on the TVs around campus so students are aware that faculty may refer them if they are concerned about them academically or about their attendance,” Turner said.
She said the CARE staff takes each case into great consideration before calling students in to talk.
“Essentially, a person, faculty or staff, would submit a case to us and indicate what their concern is.
“We use it to get together and talk about it from our different areas of expertise,” Turner said.
“It’s designed if there’s a concern the person may harm themselves or others, or both, we have to research that and determine whether its legitimate.”
Student Support Services Director Pat Stowe said she believes the program has been successful in reaching out to students while still maintaining confidentiality.
“I can say the team considers each referral very individually and any intervention has had a positive outcome,” Stowe said.
“CARE is as the name suggests … a team that represents OCCC who really cares about the welfare of its students.” Although the program is not designed to be disciplinary, Turner said students can be written up after a referral.
“Sometimes people are referred when they really need to be written up on a conduct code violation.
“It does stay on your file,” Turner said. “It’s just a way for us to be aware of potential problems on campus and to work with the individuals involved so we can have a good outcome.”
Diversified studies major Justin Swift said he believes the program is beneficial to the school.
“Due to recent events such as the shooting in Colorado, I think the program is a good idea,” Swift said. “There are a lot of people out there who need help and this is a great way to reach out to students before they do something harmful to themselves or others.”
Turner said not all cases are extreme but students do need to be aware that it is something to be taken seriously. “It’s not something anybody needs to be afraid of but we do have to follow up,” she said.
For more information on the CARE program or to seek help, contact Student Support Services at 405-682-7520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Erin Peden, email email@example.com.