Campus safety and educational initiatives — Faculty Senate discuss Women’s Center plans

In 2016, the Office on Violence Against Women from the U.S. Department of Justice awarded the University of Idaho Women’s Center around $300,000 to help fund the center’s Campus Violence Prevention Project. According to the Office on Violence Against Women, the grant will have special emphasis on reaching diverse and multicultural students.

According to the center, all grant activities are designed to support and promote Title IX and the Cleary Act, as well as attempts to engage men and students from diverse backgrounds.

At Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Bekah MillerMacPhee, the project director for the Office on Violence Against Women, and Lysa Salsbury, the Director of the Women’s Center, gave an update on the current progress of the Green Dot safety program and the newly received grant.

“We have developed a pretty comprehensive prevention program but it came to our attention that these services that we offer are not culturally responsive to our students from diverse and multicultural populations,” MillerMacPhee said.

The university is now coming to a close of its first year of the grant timeline, which was the designated planning year. The upcoming second year will be an implementation of the plans made over the past year.

The program has three main goals: broadening campus and community engagement, effective and timely interventions and the reduction of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, MillerMacPhee said.

UI has had this grant in three previous three-year cycles. New changes in the program include more of an emphasis on culturally diverse students and providing faculty and staff with training regarding violence on campus, MillerMacPhee said.

This year at UI a new bystander prevention program will be implemented in alliance with Green Dot. The program will include a rolling out training for faculty and staff. While faculty and staff could participate in Green Dot programs prior to the new program’s implementation, it caters specifically to faculty and staff, MillerMacPhee said.

“As new faculty members, new employees and new students come to campus, we need consistent messaging around this — so we need everybody to know what Green Dot is, to know what the stuff we’re doing to reduce this violence — so, we can all be on the same page and deliver those consistent messages,” Salsbury said.

Salsbury also addressed the power of faculty and staff members who openly show support for Green Dot and other programs from the Office of Violence Against Women.

“We also know that there is a lot of power in unexpected messengers. So even if you are a faculty member who feels that you don’t have a lot of interaction with this issue, having people around campus that have a Green Dot sticker or have a statement in their syllabus… that kind of messaging is really what we need if we are going to realistically reduce sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking on our campus,” Salsbury said.

In addition to discussion on the Office on Violence Against Women Campus Grant Project, faculty senators aired grievances about program prioritization during Provost and Executive Vice President, John Wiencek’s report.

Brian Ellison, from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, said some of his clinical faculty colleagues are afraid of being left out of the program prioritization process altogether. James Foster, from biological sciences, said he feared interdisciplinary majors were not considered enough in the program prioritization process.

“We do more than deliver majors in our colleges,” Foster said when referencing interdisciplinary studies.

Wiencek said he recognized the prioritization process was not perfect, but it completed its intended purpose. He said he also recognizes the concerns of those who felt the process was unfair, but reminded them that the process was open to participation from those members who were concerned.

“We can all pick and choose things that are giving us nice salaries, or we can be a bit more tempered,” Wiencek said.

Elizabeth Marshall can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

 

 


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