The Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program is closed temporarily while the search for a credentialed interim survivor-advocate is underway, Shari Clarke, OU's vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, said in an email statement.
Until an interim-survivor advocate is hired, OUSAP’s 24/7 hotline is not functioning and no staff is working out of the OUSAP offices, Clarke said in an email.
“Past OUSAP Peer Advocates and Graduate Assistants fully support this closure,” Clarke said in the email statement.
The former program coordinator for OUSAP, Delaney Anderson, left the university Oct. 16 after taking a job outside the university. Anderson, whose annual salary was $37,230, informed OU officials of her departure Sept. 29, according to a previous Post report.
Anderson’s departure has left OUSAP without a licensed and credentialed program coordinator, and previously Alicia Chavira-Prado, special assistant to the vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, provided administrative leadership to OUSAP. Chavira-Prado did not, however, have a role in advocacy services, according to a previous Post report.
The job listing for an interim OUSAP advocate was posted to ohiouniversityjobs.com on Nov. 11 and applicants have until Nov. 27 to apply for the full-time position. The university anticipates the person will fill the role until June 30, 2016.
Now that OUSAP is temporarily closed, individuals looking for confidential emotional support services can contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 740-593-1616, Clarke said in the email statement. During the weekend and after hours, that number becomes CPS' crisis line.
Clarke also said in the email statement, emergency assistance with medical or safety concerns can be directed to the Athens Police Department (9-1-1) or the OU Police Department (740-593-1911). The Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (740-593-9140) can be contacted for "non-confidential inquiries regarding institutional accommodations."
“Honestly, I wasn’t surprised and this was something that a lot of the peer advocates had requested, was that OUSAP be closed,” Ellenore Holbrook, a junior studying political science and a member of the student group F--kRapeCulture, said. “The reasoning behind this was that anyone else that they put in this office in the interim period would be a mandated reporter and that could be really potentially harmful to any survivors that had come into receive help so I’m really glad that they finally have officially closed the office.”
On Oct. 29, OU Student Senate passed a resolution that supported temporarily closing OUSAP and that resolution was written by Holbrook, Senate Appropriations Commission vice-commissioner, and Jessica Arnold, senate women’s affair commissioner.
“It is very frustrating that SAP has to be closed currently," Holbrook said. "I’d rather it be closed than have a mandated reporter in the office."
OUSAP was launched in 2010, and following Anderson's departure it had partnered with Counseling and Psychological Services.
Bobby Walker, a member of Student Union and a junior studying women's, gender and sexuality studies, said part of her is glad OUSAP is temporarily closed.
“They were doing more damage than they were good being open and not actually being a confidential source,” Walker said. “Part of me is also worried that this will only delay ... reopening it and getting the services back up to normal so I’m skeptical and a bit nervous.”
Walker said the university should be working hard to get OUSAP running again.