Administration Addresses Parents in Livestream Following Two Student Deaths

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Dianna Graves, Vice President of Student Affairs Sharon Basso, President Hiram Chodosh, Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Nyree Gray speak during the livestream.

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Dianna Graves, Vice President of Student Affairs Sharon Basso, President Hiram Chodosh, Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Nyree Gray speak during the livestream.

CMC President and Vice Presidents spoke to parents in a live stream Thursday afternoon regarding support for students after the passing of Jeremy Peterson and Eric Cramer. Questions were answered by President Hiram Chodosh, Vice President of Student Affairs Sharon Basso, Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Nyree Gray, and Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Dianna Graves.

Dean Basso outlined four themes to discuss: 1) Health and Wellness, 2) Substance Use and Abuse, 3) Community, and 4) Communication. Vice President Gray said that health and wellness of all the students is a priority, and there are many internal resources in addition to Monsour counselors. She also noted that there is financial support for students.

“We remove any barrier to mental health,” Vice President Gray said. The other participants mentioned how all the staff, peers, and parents work together to ensure the mental wellness of the students here.

One question noted that both Peterson and Cramer entered with the class of 2018 but did not graduate last year, and asked what support students had who veered off the four-year plan. Vice President Gray said that students who do not complete the program in four years are already linked to the Deans, who work with them to make sure there is a good plan.

“They’re still very much part of the community,” she said. President Chodosh added that when students come back, it is vitally important that they share as much information with the school as possible. While some might be hesitant to do so, President Chodosh assured parents that “we handle that with tremendous sensitivity.”

When asked about the academic rigors of CMC, the administrators said that in addition to committing to academic resources, the school supports student-led initiatives around peer support. President Chodosh said that there are also career pressures that the community is trying to battle by focusing on individual qualities rather than test scores.

Dean Basso was unequivocal about the weapons policy. “Weapons are not permitted, not tolerated, and any rumors are followed up on immediately.” She also said that students are aware of this policy.

Vice President Graves said that “There is not a college, a high school, or middle school even, that is not concerned about substance abuse.” She said that CMC addresses it through enforcement of a strict drug policy, education about addiction and recovery, and alternative options. She said that students are hungry for these conversations. “In the upcoming weeks there will be a big push to have a conversation about health and wellness, and we will make sure it’s reaching every student.”

According to the displayed count during the live stream, hundreds of parents tuned in to watch the session.