What if you need another plan? (PART 2)

As a continuation from the post “What if you need another plan” I did a few weeks ago, I went on a hunt to find out what Randolph offered for the students who go here. With Randolph being a former woman’s college, I thought hearing the opinions of some of the staff members would be interesting. I had asked some questions to two Randolph staff members that work in the Health Center about what is offered, their opinions about some women’s health issues, and what the school does for the students here.

They chose not to answer the questions about their own opinions on women’s contraceptives and if Randolph should make it available to students, as well as their opinions about abortions and where to get them if a student wanted to get one because they feel that these things are “irrelevant to the care we provide in the Health Center” (Randolph Staff). I understand and respect their decision to not publicize their opinions on these two touchy subjects, however they did choose to answer a few of my questions about what the Health Center provides and who to contact if you are ever sexually assaulted on Randolph’s campus.

Here is my interview with the Health Center staff.

Health Center Staff (HCS): Randolph College Health and Counseling Centers work together with the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator, and the Coordinator for Sexual Misconduct Education and Advocacy to provide services and support for all students whatever their physical or emotional needs may be.  Our offices also work together with students to make referrals to appropriate on- or off-campus resources.

ME: How many sexual assault cases do you get a year? What do you do to help them? Rape kits? Counseling? Where do you send them? Provide transportation?

HCS: In my time at Randolph, the Health Center has not had any students come in expressing concerns of sexual assault; however, we are able to see those students and provide the appropriate support and referrals as needed.  If a victim of sexual assault needs to be seen (and agrees to transport) in the Emergency Department, Campus Safety could provide that transportation.

ME: Do you know if the Health Center has ever thought about having emergency hours or somebody “on call” on the weekends for assault or rape victims?

HCS: There is an Administrator on Call and a Counselor on Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support and information to students in an emergency.  This certainly applies to victims of sexual assault.  To reach either person, the Reception and Information Desk (RAID) or Campus Safety should be contacted at x8000.

Being curious myself, I thought people might also want to know what things Randolph offers that they will also charge you for at the Health Center:

-Blood Sugar

-Hemoglobin

-Influenza Test

-Medications

-Miscellaneous items, such as an ACE wrap

-Mono Spot blood test

-Pap smears

-Pregnancy tests

-Rapid Strep Tests

-STD Testing

-Study-abroad and sports physicals

-Urinalysis

I am very thankful that I at least got some answers from them that are helpful to the students that attend Randolph that are in need of help. I wish I could have received more  information on what these staff members think about women’s health issues, but these will do.

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4 thoughts on “What if you need another plan? (PART 2)

  1. I am the Assistant Director of the Counseling Center and the Coordinator for Sexual Misconduct Education and Advocacy. I wanted to provide some more information about topics mentioned in this blog post.
    – At the Counseling Center, we see many student victims/survivors of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. Our services are free of charge, and are available to both undergrad and grad students. In my role as Coordinator for Sexual Misconduct Education and Advocacy, I am also available to meet with students and help support them through the healing process.

    – All of us in the Counseling Center and in the Health Center (yes, we are two separate entities even though we share the same building!), are here to help students access the services they need, regardless of our personal views. If a student would like help obtaining an abortion, accessing prenatal care, or connecting with an adoption agency – we are all dedicated to making sure that students receive the care and information they are seeking, in a compassionate and non-judgmental environment.

    – Planned Parenthood in Roanoke, VA offers abortion services, prenatal planning and care, and assistance connecting with adoption agencies. Various medical and social work professionals in Lynchburg offer prenatal care and adoption planning. Plan B, as noted in your prior blog, is also available over the counter at pharmacies in town.

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    • Thank you for your informative comment, I didn’t know that we can get abortion services from Roanoke. For some reason, I had always thought that the closest place to have an abortion is in Charlottesville.

      You said that your personal belief will not interfere with the services/support you provide for students. From my own experience with the Health Center and the Counseling Center, I think that it is not as easy as it sounds, especially when it comes to counseling on touchy subjects.

      How would I open up to you if I felt that you have a totally different belief system from mine? How could I trust you knowing that you are only doing your job? A counseling session is at max an hour long and outside of that context, the student is left alone again (if he/she doesn’t have many trusted friends to begin with). What can we do to build a more supportive community when you yourself know that counseling alone is not enough? How can we foster more conversation between the health center/counseling center staff with the students so that we can be more informed and connected. If I don’t go to the Health Center myself, I wouldn’t know anything about what services are offered or what is being done to help victims.

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      • @purplechillipepper
        This is Sara Hirst again (not sure if it will show up in a reply).

        The question of, “isn’t it just our job” is one that comes up from time to time, not just at Randolph, but in counseling offices all across the US. What I can say is that, most of us who chose this profession did so because we were already compassionate, understanding, and non-judgmental people. Graduate school didn’t “teach” us empathy, just as it did not “create” in us a deep-seeded desire to help – these were intrinsic qualities that we already possessed, long before we chose this career. We were just lucky enough to find a profession that would allow us to make a living doing what we love – which is helping others. We always welcome students to discuss their fears and concerns with us in counseling, as trust is a big component of a helpful and therapeutic relationship.

        As for access to information about our services: We try to provide as much information as we can about the services we offer. The Counseling Center, Health Center, and the Office of Sexual Misconduct Education and Advocacy all have websites, which students can access through the Randolph main page (“student life” then “student services”). There have been several articles in the Sundial this year outlining services for sexual assault survivors. We also have informational brochures that we bring with us to outreach events, provide at orientation, and are available for pick up in the Health/Counseling centers or the Dean of Students Suite in Main Hall. (If the old Main Grounds is approved as a public student space, we also plan to have our information there). RAs and HRs also know quite a bit about our services, and are available to help students with referrals or questions. Student-led initiatives – like this blog! – are another great avenue for spreading the word. We do not maintain a Facebook page (or other social media presence) because we do not currently have the staffing to support these options. We are always open to hearing about new ways to help students learn about our services, so please contact us if you have ideas!

        As for community dialogue – the Health Center, Counseling Center, and the Office of Sexual Misconduct Education and Advocacy are absolutely open to this, and we have participated in a couple community forums for survivors of sexual assault. There was one just last week on Tuesday the 7th that I asked Prof. Gauthier (and other faculty) to advertise in class and personally invite the Rioters to.

        There are other ways to provide feedback, too. The Health Center has a comments box and a satisfaction survey in the waiting room at all times. Students can submit feedback anonymously or identify themselves, whichever is more comfortable. The Counseling Center sends out an annual anonymous online survey to all students – it should be in your inbox now. The Directors of the Health Center, Counseling Center, and Office of Sexual Misconduct Education and Advocacy are also always available to meet with students one on one, or in small groups, to discuss concerns or questions. We are also available by email. I am working on developing an anonymous way for students to submit feedback about the Office of Sexual Misconduct Education and Advocacy. Students may also voice concerns to the Dean of Students, Matha Thornton.

        I’m sorry to hear that you may not have had a positive experience with the Health Center and the Counseling Center. We would really value being able to meet with you and learn more about your specific concerns, to help us better address them. Please reach out to us if you feel comfortable, or use one of the anonymous feedback options mentioned above. The more specific you can be, the better we will be able to address your concerns.

        As for the questions you pose about fostering increased community, connection, and support – I think these are great questions, and ones that could actually make a really great blogging assignment if you (or other Rioters) are so inclined!

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  2. @sarahirst
    YES! Thank you for adding this additional information!! I really hope that students at Randolph read this and get some guidance on what to do or how to handle things if they are ever in need.

    Again, thank you so much for your comment!!

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