CAMPUS LIFE AND SAFETY AND SECURITY (CLASS) TASK FORCE 2008 fINAL Report
Survey Results - Counseling Survey
The governor’s Campus Life and Safety and Security (CLASS) Task Force also asked each postsecondary institution to review their counseling services as they relate to campus security.
Surveys were distributed by e-mail and letter to all chief executive officers. Responses were sent to the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security where the sending institution’s name was redacted. The surveys were then sent to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Strategic Planning and Analysis unit for processing and statistical interpretation.
Responding Institution Characteristics
Eighty-five postsecondary institutions responded to the survey. Of those, 74 are public institutions. Responders represent career technology centers (36), community colleges (16) and universities (33). Consistent with the rural nature of the state, the majority of responders represent institutions in rural areas.
Only four campuses reported student headcounts at or above 15,000. More than 70 percent reported student headcounts below 3,000. Just over one-third have residence halls on campus. Of those, three-fourths house 1,000 or fewer students. There are a reported 26,949 students living on campus. The vast majority (25,768) of students live in single-student housing.
Sixty-five responders (77 percent) reported having full-time mental health practitioners. Of those, 52 percent have only one or two practitioners. A similar number (66) reported having academic counselors or advisors where a bachelor’s degree is typically required. Fewer (60 percent, 51) reported employing personal counselors who hold a master’s degree in counseling.
Most responders reported being “familiar” to “very familiar” with their mental health and substance abuse treatment resources on campus. Career technology centers are less likely to be familiar with these resources at their locations (statistical significance level of .004). Respondents from campuses with residence halls are more likely than those without residence halls to be familiar with substance abuse treatment resources (statistical significance level of .000). All responders are at least “somewhat familiar” with mental health and substance abuse treatment resources in the surrounding community.
Fifty-six institutions (66 percent) utilized general operating funds to pay for on-campus counseling services. Fifteen (17.6 percent) reported using student activity fees to pay for counseling. Most (87 percent) do not limit the number of times a student can utilize an on-campus counselor. For the 10 institutions that do impose a limit, the number of allowed visits ranges from two to 16. In the event a student exhausts on-campus services, additional resources can be sought and found in the local community.
Eleven responders (12.9 percent) indicated that there are no on-campus counseling services offered at their locations. Institutions without on-campus services refer students who are in need of mental health counseling services to off-campus resources. If the student needs mental health counseling and may pose a threat to himself or to others, referral is still the most common measure indicated by survey responders. Only four campuses indicated contacting law enforcement or the campus office of public safety.
Only a few institutions (7.1 percent, 6) have active peer support groups or networks to work with students who have mental health problems. Slightly more (11.8 percent, 10) have active peer support groups or networks to work with students who have substance abuse problems.
More than one-half of responders feel strongly that their counseling services are readily available and accessible to all students. Most agree that their counseling services are consistently effective in serving students’ needs. Generally, responders feel that the counseling services available in their local communities are slightly less available and accessible than those on campus. This is felt the strongest on campuses with residence halls, where responders were significantly less likely to report that counseling services in the local community are readily available and accessible to all students (statistical significance level of .000). They also have less confidence in community-based counseling services. University responders are significantly less likely to agree that counseling services in the local community are consistently effective in serving students’ needs (statistical significance level of .029).
Survey respondents were asked to indicate to what degree they agreed that student services staff had a positive relationship, including active cooperation and collaboration, with campus and non-campus entities. In general, the most positive relationships were reported between student services staff and campus police, campus judicial/conduct officers and campus Americans with Disabilities Act-compliance officers. Overall, the relationship between student services staff and the campus legal representation is less than positive.
Areas of Greatest Concern
Almost all campuses reported being “somewhat” to “very prepared” to deal with alcohol and drug use, misuse or abuse. The only survey behaviors and/or incidents where fewer than 50 percent of campuses felt “very prepared” were suicidal ideation, gestures and attempts and critical incident response. Community colleges are less likely than career technology centers or universities to agree that they are prepared for handling suicide (statistical significance level of .001). Public respondents are more likely to agree that their institutions are prepared for handling suicide than the private respondents. While statistically significant (at .014), the numeric difference between the groups seems slight and perhaps not of practical significance. Urban respondents are more likely to agree that they are prepared for handling suicide than the rural respondents (statistical significance level of .044).
However, career technology centers are the most likely to agree that they are prepared for classroom disruption or control issues than the community colleges and universities (statistical significance level of .001). Respondents from campuses without residence halls are more likely to agree that they are prepared for handling classroom control issues. This finding probably relates closely to the finding that career technology centers, which have no residence halls, are better prepared for handling such issues (statistical significance level of .013).
Open access to campus was the most commonly shared concern regarding campus safety. Seventeen institutions (20 percent) also reported a shooter or intruder as the issue causing the most concern.
Two-thirds of responders were involved in the development of their institutions’ emergency management plans. Sixty-three percent are “satisfied” to “very satisfied” with the mental health or counseling component of the plan. Private respondents were more likely to agree that they are satisfied with this component than were public respondents (statistical significance level of .026).
More than one-half of respondents expressed the greatest interest in receiving training in the areas of psychological issues, emergency planning, emergency response and preparedness, crisis management, and violence assessment strategies. Urban respondents are more interested in training that deals with working effectively with police and other first responders (statistical significance level of .037).