Students share feedback on mental health services and diversity at SGA town hall


Nithin Reddy Nagapur

President Rick Muma and Executive Vice President and Provost Shirley Lefever have a conversation with students about mental health services and diversity on campus on April 18, 2022.

Diversity and mental health were the two main subjects at the SGA town hall Monday afternoon.

The Student Government Association hosted a town hall to give students the opportunity to listen and talk with representatives in Counseling and Prevention Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

On the topic of mental health, students shared their concerns and comments about what the campus is doing for mental health for faculty, as well as for students when not on campus.

Margarita Baez, a representative with CAPS, said that she works with the office to ensure their website is updated and offers resources for students when they’re not on campus. The website will soon have additional information and be revamped with more services from CAPS. 

WSU President Rick Muma encouraged other offices to promote mental health resources as well.

“Mental health doesn’t just happen in these offices or my office, it happens in all of our offices,” Muma said. “And promoting that, the provost I know sends messages out on a weekly basis to faculty to remind them of certain things and mental health.”

While discussing classroom engagement, SGA asked the representatives what WSU is doing to match the demographics of their faculty and staff to that of their students to make sure their students feel represented and seen. 

Muma talked of the diversity and inclusion plan the university incorporates into their hiring process, stating that the university works to have a hiring team that is mindful of those demographics. 

Marche Flemming-Randle, chief diversity officer, explained that the college is working to have diversity classes,such as the Black Lives Matter course added last semester. 

“We’re trying to make sure that the course studies that we have, not only Black Lives Matter but Latinx classes, we want to make sure the words get out,” Fleming-Randle said. “The faculty that teach the course, they go to class to ask people, ‘Hey what classes are you looking for?’ Diversity is all of our responsibility, not just one area.” 

Fleming-Randle went on to explain that promoting these courses is a big factor in making sure that students are aware of what is being offered. 

Student engagement was the next topic brought up, with the question of how WSU is working to have better student engagement on campus.

Fleming-Randle said that they try to engage with students by being involved with the events the campus hosts and making sure other members are participating. She said this is a way that everyone involved can learn about one another.

Baez said that she learns how to say students’ names properly in order to engage with them.

“Saying a student’s name correctly is very important, Baez said.  “And so I think that’s something as we have conversations, like the proper pronunciation, I know that might seem very minimal and it’s very low hanging fruit, but it makes a significant difference.  Oftentimes we think of culture and heritage. Saying someone’s name, there’s a lot of thought, there’s family  history to it.” 

The meeting concluded with the university representatives encouraging students to come talk with them any time with concerns and questions.