Studies suggest that many Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct (RVSM) incidents happen soon after entering a new environment where there is a high level of anonymity and asa result a lack of accountability. Given this, the value of real substantive mentorship and building communities of support cannot be overstated in terms of harm reduction and creating a sense of inclusion. With this intention in mind, the CCTF recommends the creation of a college or departmental mentorship program for students. Incoming students would be paired with current MSU students to answer questions and link incoming students to opportunities in their interest areas. CCTF members reached out to the CAL Student Council; they are interested in facilitating one on one mentoring for new students. They are also interested in serving as the first line of communication for students with questions about MSU and CAL. In this situation each CAL Student Council members’ contact information would be given to around 30 incoming students as a way to contact them. This would would be the first step of the mentorship program and students would be assigned a one-on-one mentor within their major (not necessarily a CAL Student Council Member, but a CAL upperclassmen) before they arrive on campus for move-in.The CCTF suggests partnering with the CAL Student Council to create a toolkit for effective mentorship for students as well as create mentor/mentee CAL or department sponsored events are recommended.
The CCTF also recommends the creation of across-unit support system for incoming faculty and staff of all categorizations. The voluntary program would pair incoming faculty (for their first year) with established MSU employees for monthly meetings. The aim of these pairings is not simply academic but also to expand their network of support for a life well lived. The pairings could certainly discuss professional concerns and seek MSU advice but they should also focus on work/life discussions and assist in expanding social connections. The CCTF recommends that mentors and mentees meet monthly and that MSU food vouchers be provided.
Most of MSU’s language to new employees is related to success in the academic field with little empathy related to personal life. The committee suggests a review of such documents to offer more compassionate language that recognizes that employees also have lives beyond MSU.
The CCTF also discussed the need for structured student and employee discussions hosted by CAL or the CCTF to gather new ideas or offer peer to peer advice. These can be both more intimate circle discussions within or across units as well as more public conversations around the culture of care which could be modeled at the college level for use in departments. CCTF members recommend connecting senior students with similarly focused alumni using the extensive alumni network from CAL to create student networking opportunities prior to graduation. We also recommend identifying and pairing more experienced employees invested in shifting the culture with newcomers needing support. These activities prioritize a culture of care as a life skill for students and employees.