Updated: Jun 22
This page is updated on June 22 to reflect recent updates on OAS Director hiring process.
In response to public concern regarding the future of the Office of Advocacy and Support, the Student Association would like to clarify the following:
The Office of Advocacy & Support (Office) is not closing. The last remaining permanent staff member leaves the office on June 17, 2022; The Division of Safety and Facilities has been tasked with filling the vacancy.
Those seeking OAS services can still reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance as there is now an Interim Advocate Specialist set to temporarily fill the vacancy. This temporary advocate will gain access to the OAS email this week; we are told correspondence will consist of both automatic and direct personal responses.
Virtual student advocacy service from the Interim advocate is on track to be available through the OAS via telecommunication in 1-2 weeks; the interim advocate will provide baseline services but will not be performing to the full extent that a regular permanent advocate specialist does.
The university is preparing the application for a new Director of Advocacy & Support; the Preventive Specialist Position will not be posted until the new Director is hired. The application for the Director of OAS and Advocacy Specialist has been posted.
The university is aiming to fill the vacancy before the Fall 2022 Semester starts, but it also prioritizes attaining only the most qualified and capable individuals for these positions over filling the vacancies as soon as possible.
Two “experts” from The National Organization for Victim Assistance were hired during the spring to aid in the search for the next Director. One of the experts is set to fulfill the Interim Advocate Specialist position that was previously mentioned.
There was a recent policy switch from Advocates being able to email professors directly on behalf of students to the Provosts communicating on student behalf to professors when informed by an advocate or the student themselves.
In the meeting with Ast. VP Fox, the S.A. Exec. Senior Policy Advisor advised that there is still a need for direct emails as information might be sensitive and certain students might not be comfortable with their experiences being shared amongst administration; Ast. VP Fox is setting up a meeting to discuss allowing Advocates to email professors again on non-accommodation issues.
All issues needing to be expedited to Provosts will be handled by Ast. VP Fox until the new Director is hired.
The Student Association appreciates the support and open communication from Dean Petty, Dean Coleman, and Ast. VP Fox, and we are looking forward to coordinating with university officials to return the Office of Advocacy and Support to a fully staffed and functional stature.