President Michael Crow answered an array of questions about COVID-19, sexual assault and mental health resources on the Downtown Phoenix campus in a student forum on Wednesday held by Undergraduate Student Government Downtown and other representatives from the Associated Students of ASU.
He kicked off the forum at the San Carlos Conference Room in the Post Office by giving University updates, talking about the number of students on campus and the spread of COVID-19. The questions asked and responses from Crow and other University officials remained relatively the same from the first forum in September.
"We're fully operational. We have the largest number of students we've ever had on campus," Crow said. "We're confident at the moment that we're in good management. Things that we've put in place are allowing classes to go on."
Crow answered questions submitted by students that were asked by Graduate and Professional Student Association President Nicole Mayberry and Downtown Student Body President Renuka Vemuri.
Question topics included sexual assault resources, balancing mental health on campus and how students can interact with the community.
One question submitted from a student asked about ASU's plan to aid students who have been impacted by sexual assault. Crow said he thinks it's not necessarily an issue of resources, but rather the lack of students filing reports.
"We have victim advocates, special nursing staff and medical staff relative to sexual assault responses," Crow said. "There's certainly not an issue with response. There's an issue with reporting sometimes. People are very uncomfortable about reporting."
He then handed the microphone to Vice President of Student Services Joanne Vogel to further answer the question.
"As a certified victim advocate myself, I think that choice is very important," Vogel said. "So we want to put as many options of choices in front of students as possible."
She went on to explain that students have the option to go through a local police department to file a report, seek help through Student or University Rights and Responsibilities, or even go into ASU's confidential spaces to discuss reporting.
Another question was asked about how students should manage their mental health during the semester.
Similar to his answer regarding sexual assault resources, Crow explained that if any student is not in a good mental state they should reach out and ask for help.
"You think nothing of going to the dentist," Crow said. "You think nothing of getting your hangnail taken off by a doctor. But everyone hesitates when it comes to a mental health professional. I don't get why."
Vice President of ASU Counseling Services Aaron Krasnow talked about the stigma and of mental health on campus and where it originates. He said students may be hesitant to ask for help because the response could be "they will say I should have done better" instead of helping.
The forum ended with a question asking how students can help the ASU community. Crow answered saying students need to recognize the greatness of this institution compared to others.
"People need to understand the quality of the institution they're attending," Crow said. "The one thing I'd love to see students grasp and understand is that you are attending one of the most important universities that humans have ever built."
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