The Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator/Therapist (SART) Alysha Warren will be leaving the University this fall to become a psychotherapist at Williams College. With Warren’s departure, an important position within Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) remains open as classes begin this fall.
CAPS Director Jennifer D’Andrea announced the news in an email to the campus community on the evening of Friday, August 25.
“Given the timing of this transition, we have developed an immediate plan to provide support to survivors on campus until this position can be filled,” D’Andrea wrote in the email. “Although any student in need of support can contact CAPS at any time, I have adjusted my caseload and responsibilities so that I will personally be available to support any student seeking guidance and/or therapy until the position is filled.”
Additionally, the University will be partnering with Lindsay DeFrancisco of the Campus Advocate at Women and Families Center. DeFrancisco, along with D’Andrea, will help cover the SART position until someone new is hired.
“[DeFrancisco] is an experienced advocate who will provide support to survivors of sexual violence and help them understand reporting options to both the university and the police,” wrote D’Andrea in the campus-wide email. “[DeFrancisco] and I will be available to provide confidential advice to any student who is considering options relating to sexual violence resources and/or reporting.”
According to D’Andrea, attempts to recruit someone new for the position are already underway.
“The position is posted and we have begun recruiting,” D’Andrea wrote in an email to The Argus. “We will move as quickly as possible but we want to make sure we have a strong pool of candidates before we begin interviews.”
This hiring process will include student input, as D’Andrea mentioned in her email to the University. She expanded on this idea in an email to The Argus.
“We always include students in the interviews with candidates as student feedback is critical to finding the best candidate,” D’Andrea wrote. “Students will also be involved with the search committee which will help evaluate all of the candidate feedback before we make a new hire.”
Generally, this process involves a search committee taking formal feedback from not just students but also faculty and staff who assist with interviews.
“[The] Human Resources department is responsible for conducting reference checks and making a formal offer,” D’Andrea wrote. “The search will be conducted nationally through Student Health, Wellness and Counseling listservs.”
During Warren’s six years in the University’s community, she handled matters that ranged from serving as an individual therapist for many students who were sexual assault survivors to implementing training and spreading awareness about sexual assault. Whoever fills her position must to be able to function in a number of roles.
“We will be searching for an individual who has professional experience in survivor advocacy, a higher education setting, and/or a rape crisis center,” D’Andrea wrote. “We also want to find someone who demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the intersections of power-based violence with other critically important issues such as the unique struggles of marginalized communities, especially in a college setting.”
D’Andrea elaborated on this description in her email.
“It is my hope that our successful candidate will continue with the sexual violence prevention programs Alysha has developed and delivered to literally hundreds of students, faculty, and staff over the years,” she wrote. “On an individual level, I hope we can find someone who cares as deeply about sexual violence prevention as Alysha does, and who can develop strong, trusting relationships with both individual students and student groups and organizations. The ability to forge solid relationships is the foundation of the work, and it is an area in which Alysha has excelled. She will be a tough act to follow.”
Although Warren is leaving her position mid-September, when asked, she spoke about many things she would miss about the University.
“I’ve been continually inspired by [the community’s] passion and commitment,” Warren wrote in an email to The Argus. “I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to have worked on a campus that recognizes sexual violence is a community issue and that is committed to being trauma informed in its approach to healing and prevention.”