While the MSU community works to heal from sexual assaults by Larry Nassar, students and faculty alike are looking for a person to bring about change, hope, and a new way of life for the university.
MSU sophomore and Nassar survivor Kat Ebert, said she hopes to do exactly that.
“Yes, it was horrible. “But, I feel like it has helped me find my calling. I want to help other people, and I’ll do whatever it takes.”
— Kat Ebert
Ebert said counseling resources on campus are very limited, especially now that demand has become so high. This is what led to her idea to start a 24/7 mental health clinic that would be available to all students.
Ebert said she wants this to be a collaborative effort, and she wants there to be multiple resources available under one roof.
In the event of an assault, Ebert believes that a victim should be able to attend an on-campus clinic that would have a legal consultant, health professional, social worker and criminal justice member available to them at all times.
Despite being willing to contribute her personal money to this cause, Ebert is aware that she can’t do it all on her own. She plans to propose her idea to the MSU Board of Trustees at its next public meeting in hopes that it will allot funding to her facility.
To combat their counselor shortage, the university has recently began piloting neighborhood-specific counseling programs in East and South campus that will help make access to counselors easier for students.
Youssef Abelhafiz is a resident assistant in one of the pilot neighborhoods, and says he regularly offers it as a resource to his residents.
Abelhafiz said the counselors in South neighborhood work hard to make sure the students know that they are there. He said the resident assistants work with the counselors to build a bond with residents so that if help is needed, they have already established a level of trust.
“No one is going to talk to some guy that just handed them a sheet and said ‘here’s some resources,’” Abelhafiz said. “We have to do more than that. It’s our job to be there for them.”
“Even with the counseling in the neighborhood, we still don’t have something that’s open all the time,” Abelhafiz said. “I think having a resource available with a real person they can talk to at any time of the day … that would be really beneficial.”
Abelhafiz said he was concerned that the university wouldn’t enact this change on its own accord, so he hopes MSU alumni and donors get on board.
“Donors need to demand change,” Abelhafiz said. “Maybe if they say that they want their money to go toward this, the university will do something.
“To expect change, you have to hit them where it hurts, and with the Board of Trustees, it’s their pockets.”