New Student Wellness Program - SOCAT
TAMPA, Fla. (May 7, 2010) -- Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, schools across the nation reviewed their campus safety procedures. In fact, governmental commissions which studied this incident and the incident at Northern Illinois recommended that collaborative teams be established on university campuses, called “threat assessment teams,” “behavioral intervention teams,” or “student of concern teams.”
In response to this recommendation and those of the Florida Gubernatorial Task Force emphasizing the sharing of information, timely intervention and coordinated response, the University of South Florida has created its own program called SOCAT – Students of Concern Assistance Team. The initiative is aimed at assisting distressed students and enabling them to be successful and remain in school. Assistant Vice President for Health and Wellness Alan Kent is heading up these efforts and SOCAT has launched a new Students of Concern Web site.
The mission of SOCAT is to recognize and assist students in distress through supportive intervention when there is a concern that a student poses a danger to self, others or otherwise appears to need assistance. SOCAT will not replace existing campus referral and support systems including the Counseling Center, Student Health, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and Advocacy, but it will provide greater coordination and collaboration among campus and community resources. A Student Affairs Case Manager, Jennifer “JJ” Larson, will provide outreach, linkage, support and referral for students of concern.
SOCAT members from the Office of the AVP for Health and Wellness, the Counseling Center, Student Health Services, The Dean of Students, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Undergraduate Studies, the University Police and Housing/Residential Education meet weekly to review concerns, reports and outcomes regarding students who appear to be in distress. SOCAT will proactively respond to students who have displayed aberrant patterns of behavior such as threats, repeated suicidal behavior, violent actions or other disruptive behaviors. SOCAT will then ensure that these students are offered professional assistance and support.
SOCAT has been established to ensure students have access to all available university resources and to facilitate a coordinated response to students in need. For more information, please visit the Students of Concern Web site.