The CARES (Campus, Advocacy, Response, and Support) Team is a group of trained and dedicated volunteers available outside of Counseling and Psychological Services business hours to support RIT students that have been impacted by sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, or stalking. CARES advocates are available to confidentially provide information, support, and advocacy by phone or in-person.

To speak with a confidential CARES advocate:

  • Call Counseling and Psychological Services at 585-475-2261 during business hours and ask for a CARES advocate
  • Call 585-295-3533 outside of Counseling and Psychological Services business hours and on weekends

CARES Support

After a CARES team member meets with you, we will complete and submit a form to a clinician. We will then contact you soon after with information about additional services. You may accept or decline services and may discontinue services at any time.

CARES is a gender-inclusive and confidential resource available to RIT students. Women, men, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community are encouraged to call the hotline for support. Our services are accessible to individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing.

The CARES team advocate for the identified survivor/complainant in a case. We do not advocate for or serve the accused identified offender. Advocates who assist offenders are available from other sources at RIT. Although anyone involved in a case has the right to an advocate, CARES strictly serves survivors.

A CARES advocate will meet with any RIT student that is considering making a report to Public Safety, and will travel to the Public Safety Department to accompany them. If you decide to file a report with Public Safety, you can still contact CARES for additional support.

You are not required to file a Public Safety report to receive assistance from CARES. If you are not comfortable involving Public Safety, an advocate may travel to another safe location on campus if a student is in a crisis related to an incident of sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, or stalking. We are there to make sure you are aware of your rights, know what services are available to you, and to support you in an understanding, non-judgmental manner.

The CARES Team can be contacted by phone to provide support and information at any time, day or night. During regular business hours, a staff member from Counseling and Psychological Services is available to assist you. After business hours and on weekends, breaks, and holidays, a CARES team member will respond to hotline calls.

CARES Team Members

Lisa Cole
Mental Health Therapist/CARES Services Coordinator
Mellissa Woodhams
Senior Staff Specialist
Cynthia Sobieraj
Assistant Vice President Marketing and Donor Relations
Teresa Brown
Associate Director Office of Fin Aid and Schlshp
Jim Dolan
Staff Assistant
Jennifer DiLucia
Senior Staff Assistant
Dawn Walton
Research Associate/Project Interpreter
Christie Russo
SFS Team Lead
Erica Roethel
Assistant Director
Morgan McDonald
Population Health Leader
Karen Van Meenen
Principal Lecturer
Allison Fitch
Assistant Professor
Kristen Flood
Director, Operations and Special Assistant for Strategic Planning
Jess Whitehouse
Coordinator Student Life Programming
Carolyn Lauber
Associate Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship

What CARES Volunteers are saying about their experience

“Being a CARES team member is one of the most challenging and most important things I have done at RIT.  CARES is such a valuable support service and one that I wish existed when I was in university, so I see it as my duty to serve others now.”

“Being a member of the CARES team has given me the opportunity to support RIT students in some of their toughest moments. I love being able to offer a listening ear, provide relevant resources, and collaborate with other teams on campus when a student is reporting an incident.”

“The CARES team has the RIT community in their hearts.”

“For several years I have been a part of and witnessed the care and concern the CARES team shows our students.  The support that CARES provides to our students is invaluable and the growth that I have experienced and observed will last a lifetime.” 

Community Resources

If you’d like to seek additional support, there are various resources available to RIT students in the community for sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, and stalking.

RESTORE - Sexual Assault Awareness

Willow Domestic Violence Center

Out Alliance

National Domestic Violence Hotline for Women and Men
1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

The Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ youth