Updates from Vice President John King

Mental health, a new confidential reporting system and forming a better relationship with the Bristol community are a few of the things at the top of the university’s list this year.

On Monday, Oct. 15, John King, Vice President of Student Life, went to the Student Senate meeting to answer questions from the senators.

One of the major things brought up in the meeting was the topic of mental health. After a woman jumped off the Mount Hope Bridge on the night of Sept. 24, community members both on the RWU campus and Bristol, in general, were shaken.

According to Dr. King, the university does not issue an alert or message when a non-student decides to take their own life, which is why there was no message sent out to the university after the incident occurred.

RWU is taking steps to ensure that students always have a place to go if they are feeling depressed or anxious. This includes getting involved with the JED foundation’s strategic plan. The JED foundation helps schools strengthen mental health programs, including substance abuse and suicide prevention programs.

“We are putting a lot of the pieces in place with mental health and medical leaves,” said Dr. King. “Our focus is on student resilience.”

A new confidential reporting system has been implemented at RWU. Here, students can report bias incidents and sexual misconduct, either anonymously or by name.

“The confidential nature is helpful because people may report on a higher level if it’s anonymous and you could give the person more feedback,” said King.

To find this form, search “incident report” in the portal.

The Bristol noise ordinance was another topic that came up yet again in the Senate meeting. Senior Cheyenne Quintal, a Resident Assistant at Almeida, raised concerns about the off-campus residence hall that is plopped in the middle of the Bristol community. She mentioned that residents have been calling in the morning, and even earlier in the night around 9 p.m., complaining about the noise.

Dr. King said a fence is going to be put up at Almeida to help with the noise.

“I want to support the ordinance but I want to advocate for fairness,” said Dr. King.

In regards to the ordinance, the university was not notified that this bill was being passed and was not aware of it until the middle of June when residents began advocating for the new amendment.

“I think conversations started in May but I think it had to do with some Cinco de Mayo celebrations and some out of control areas,” said Dr. King. “The university and town did have productive conversations when we were informed.”

Efforts are continuing to be made to improve the relationship between RWU students and Bristol residents, and more updates may be available soon.