Belmont has hired two contract counselors and at least one more is expected to be in place by the end of next week, said Provost Dr. Thomas Burns.
“I believe one has already started. I believe the other would be starting probably early next week,” Burns said. “There really shouldn’t be any delay or any noticeable impact on students other than that the counselors would have changed.”
Belmont confirmed earlier this week that three Counseling Services staff members were no longer working at the university. The provost’s response serves as reassurance that students under the care of Counseling Services have not been affected by the staffing changes.
“Nobody has lost an appointment or lost the ability to be seen,” Burns said. “Student health and safety is our primary concern, and we’re working on developing processes to make sure that’s taken care of.”
The contracted counselors are not permanent Belmont employees, instead they are licensed and professional counselors who will work full time at least through the end of the semester, Burns said.
“We are hiring people to fill in those needs and to make sure there aren’t long waits and there are no delays in seeing students and we’re able to deal with either emergent or continuing situations,” Burns said.
The contracts have been signed in the past few days, and the students affected have already been referred to another internal counselor, said Burns.
“We’re still seeing all our student patients, accommodating all of their needs, we’re just trying to return staffing to full levels,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see that grow in the not-too-distant future because we continue to want to make progress in our ratios of students to counselors.”