The University’s Presidential Task Force on Undergraduate Admissions released a set of recommendations to improve Cornell’s admissions process, including increased efforts to identify prospective students from underserved communities and to utilize machine learning algorithms in a limited capacity.
The student-led Mental Health Task Force finalized its list of recommendations to improve Cornell’s mental health services on Sunday, with plans to formally introduce them to the administration and gather signatures from the student body on Monday. The task force recommendations include hiring new counselors and mental health liaisons, new training for resident advisors and university staff, changes to leave of absence policies, and increasing access to off-campus mental health services.
Since March, the task force has worked to identify possible areas of improvements to Cornell’s mental health services, during which the administration has faced criticism from students and mental health advocacy groups like The Sophie Fund — an advocacy organization founded by the parents of Sophie MacLeod ’14, who committed suicide while on medical leave from Cornell in 2016. In January, President Pollack rejected calls for an independent review of campus mental health services from Susan Hack and Scott MacLeod, founders of The Sophie Fund. At the time, Pollack said that a two-year external review by the JED Foundation and internal reviews of Cornell Health are sufficient audits for its mental health program. Hack and McLeod called the review “plainly insufficient” in a letter to Pollack in August, and repeated its call for an independent task force.
In regard to mental health, Pollack spoke about several substantive changes, including an increase of over two and a half years from 32 to 43 counselors and Cornell’s decision to contract with ProtoCall, a 24-hour by-phone mental health counseling service that Pollack said was “very carefully vetted” in the hope that it would be helpful.
Cornell announced a series of diversity and inclusion initiatives targeting subjects such as mental health treatment, diversity education, retention of minority faculty members and regulations of student organizations, in particular Greek letter organizations.