April 12, 2004

University Senate hears mental health report          

Reported by Katherine Baust

President Jim Wagner opened the March 30 University Senate meeting in Woodruff Library's Jones Room by sharing his excitement about the number and variety of events included in Emory's Inauguration Celebration, which was ongoing that week. "I think we should come up with reasons to do this more often," Wagner quipped.

Wagner acknowledged the concern of Emory's Jewish community over the selection of former Irish president Mary Robinson as the 2004 Commencement keynote speaker, but he said the administration is working with individuals and student groups to address these concerns and was confident the parties would reach an agreement acceptable to all.

The president repeated a report he'd made to Faculty Council the week before about an external site team visit to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of Emory's information technology (IT) efforts. Wagner said he will discuss the report extensively with campus IT leaders before making any decisions.

Next on the agenda was a report from Mark McLeod, director of the Counseling Center. Distributing an article by the University of Idaho's Martha Anne Kitzrow ("The Mental Health Needs of Today's College Students: Challenges and Recommendations," NASPA Journal, fall 2003), McLeod said the top three issues that prompt student visits to the Counseling Center are interpersonal relationships, family issues and academic concerns, and the top three symptoms they display are depression, anxiety and stress.

McLeod reported there have been six suicides at Emory in the past seven years (the death of student John Bolds on April 2 brought the number up to seven); prior to 1995, he could recall no on-campus student suicides since he came in Emory in 1982.

Citing a report by Tufts University that ranked Emory second to last among 22 private universities in their funding of student mental-health services, McLeod said the Counseling Center needs more funding for marketing efforts, and he also recommended bringing together Student Health Services and the Counseling Center under one roof.

After McLeod's report, Senate President John Snarey adjourned the meeting early so members could attend the ethics symposium in WHSCAB that was part of the Inauguration Celebration.

The next Senate meeting will be held April 27 at 3:15 p.m. in the Jones Room.

If you have a question or concern for University Senate, e-mail President John Snarey at jsnarey@learnlink.emory.edu.