What you missed at SGA: Initiative for Katie’s Save at NKU
February 21, 2023
The Student Government Association heard from Joanna Swaiss on implementing Katie’s Save at Northern Kentucky University at this week’s meeting.
Swaiss previously developed Katie’s Office, an initiative that provides advocacy and support for students reported to have violated NKU’s Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The initiative took inspiration from the story of Katie Meyer, a Stanford University student athlete who died by suicide after receiving a disciplinary letter from Stanford’s Conduct Office. Meyer’s family then established Katie’s Save, which creates emergency contact between universities and designated advocates should students find themselves needing guidance and support in challenging circumstances.
These circumstances include physical, emotional or mental health needs, being cited for misconduct, disciplinary action or substance abuse, and being placed on academic probation—all of which can be highly stressful and isolating for students. Katie’s Save allows students to identify an advocate of their choice or have an advocate designated on their behalf by the university, who will be notified of a student’s situation with their consent. Advocates can be any trusted adult, from family members and friends to counselors and coaches.
Two weeks ago, Swaiss started a petition on change.org to implement Katie’s Save at NKU. Currently the petition has received 151 signatures, signaling to Swaiss that it is favored by the student body. At the meeting, she asked for SGA to help as liaisons between the university administration and the students.
“Support for Katie’s Save would mean a lot more coming from SGA than coming from me. The student body is calling for you to push forth this initiative because no one in the NKU community should ever be left alone or unsupported,” Swaiss said.
If implemented, during fall registration NKU students will be given a form where they can check off situations that they do or do not consent to being communicated to designated advocates, by means of email or text message. After being notified, advocates are encouraged but not required to check on students to ensure that they are well, and both they and the students can decide on how to proceed next. No specific details about the situations are to be disclosed without a student’s prior consent.
Swaiss hopes that NKU will create a pool of advocates for students who might not have their advocate already identified. Per suggestions from SGA, she said she will be looking into potential collaborations with existing campus offices.
The student government also unanimously accepted history major Owen Hardesty as a senator at this week’s meeting. Leading the Student Experience Task Force, SGA President Daniel Myers reported that 588 student experience surveys have been completed and is aiming for 1,000 by the end of the week.
For this week’s “Boots to the Ground” question, SGA members would ask students what separates NKU from the competition. For several senators, elements such as scholarships, gateway programs, campus safety, a supportive black community and a helpful international student office make NKU stand out.