The past two weeks at Le Moyne have been filled with grief, sadness, and anger after the loss of another ‘Phin, yet with these emotions has come action and change.
After a number of discussions and fora between students, SGA, and administration, the school is already beginning to see the implementation of some of the requested resources. For instance, the Wellness Center welcomed a new counselor on March 30 and face-to-face counseling will resume.
Students are happy to see these changes taking place—changes they feel are long overdue—but a central component of the discussion has been involving students in the conversations and decisions surrounding mental health, since they are most directly affected.
Following the protests and fora which took place on March 23, these student-led initiatives began to make themselves known, one of such being a Mental Health Student Task Force. This task force is made up entirely of Le Moyne students, both SGA and non-SGA.
On March 28, Le Moyne administration and students received an email with a statement from this task force, explaining the work it has done so far and what its goal is as a long-term addition to the Le Moyne community.
The statement addresses that the college’s action in loosening visitation policies and making an effort to create social connections for students was a critical step, but there is more to be done.
It outlines a number of proposals for administration to consider in the coming weeks and throughout the rest of the semester.
These include improved training and support for RAs, the employment of male and LGBTQ+ counselors in the Wellness Center, and the treatment of mental health days as sick days in class syllabi, among much more.
Brandon Bardin, one of the task force members and organizer of the student protest on March 22, met with President LeMura and the Vice President of Communications, Bill Brower, to discuss the creation of a student task force following the protest.
“We discussed the idea of organizing a student-led task force that could operate independently of SGA while also providing a direct line for any student to be able to voice their concerns,” said Bardin. “This is why we believed it was imperative to include our names — any student can reach out to any of us at any time.”
Another member of the task force, James Corl, is the freshman SGA representative and started a petition after the loss of Cory Gallinger, which has since gotten over 7,000 signatures.
Corl points out that the mental health crisis occurring at Le Moyne is not an issue unique to the school, but that does not mean it shouldn’t be treated with urgency and care.
“This is a critical issue for our Le Moyne community because we all pride ourselves on the tight-knit community we have here,” said Corl. “If we did not know Cory, we are probably friends with someone who was.”
The issues raised are being brought to the attention of administration and the task force is hopeful that Le Moyne will see changes soon.
“There is still work to be done, and our task force isn’t an ‘end all-be all’ solution…” said Bardin. “Our main goal is to represent all students, both on and off our campus — this will not change.”