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Virtual Launch



On Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, President Ruth Watkins introduced the new McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention. The center’s inaugural director is Chris Linder, a professor in the College of Education and special assistance to the president for violence prevention and education. Linder and the center’s advisory board introduced its goals, mission and structure during this webinar.



On October 2020, the center was renamed the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention in honor of Lauren McCluskey, who was killed on the U campus on Oct. 22, 2018.

President Ruth Watkins

I'm glad you're here, and I'm delighted to be part of this virtual launch. We look forward to the day when we're doing this launch not virtually, but together in person. But in the meantime, really glad to have the opportunity to gather with people who care about this very important topic and issue.

So, for the past three years, I think many of you know, we've been engaged in really powerful, continuous improvement efforts around safety on our campus and working on changing a culture—such an important thing to do for the University of Utah. This is a transformation and a transformation of a culture is not fast and it is not easy, but it is vital. And the University of Utah is deeply committed to this work and to making it happen. It's taken time, it's taken resources, it's taken commitment. And now, I'm happy to say, it has the opportunity to bring many, many people who care about these issues along with us.

Please know that the university, its leadership and virtually everyone at the university is dedicated to this effort and to making safety a top priority for the university. In the last year, a lot of our faculty have been part of this discussion and we've been amazed to discover how many faculty we have on our campus who are already engaged with and doing work related to the prevention of violence and a wide array of related topics, like assault and also domestic violence, in particular.

A group of University of Utah faculty led by Sonia Salari has partnered with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and more than 10 campus groups and community groups. They've been funded by a federal grant from, I believe, the Department of Justice, which is really remarkable that they went right out and earned that support from an external entity to develop better coordination of services, comprehensive strategies aimed at reducing violent crimes against women and promoting victim-survivor safety.

The Gender based Violence Consortium, led by Professor Annie Fukushima, is bringing together an interdisciplinary team of scholars, representing multiple colleges across our campus, to address gender-based violence throughout Utah, not just on campus, but across the state. So, what's remarkable here is by beginning to openly talk about safety and preventing violence against women and thinking about where we are as a campus in a broad way, we've identified faculty researchers who are coming forward and leading with us and on our campus and in our state—faculty like Annie Fukushima and Sonia Salari, so my shout-out to them. Our Office of Research, our Vice President for Research, has supported seed grants related to interpersonal violence during the pandemic and really helping us support our researchers and bringing together our community.

And then, all of this is in addition to work we've done to expand the safety infrastructure on campus, to add key personnel, to bring new expertise and awareness, and facilitate discussion and education. I think many of you are aware of our new Chief Safety Officer Marlon Lynch, who is leading a lot of those efforts and really helping us make change on our campus.

Now today, we get to take another major step forward with the recognition of our new Center for Violence Prevention. This is an important effort which we're happy to say donors have joined with us to make happen and our Academic Senate has endorsed and supported. This is about vision, about goals, direction and the ability to make a real difference in reducing relationship and sexual violence on college campuses, on our own, but also for the University of Utah to step into a role as a national leader with creative, research-informed approaches to education and research that help us change this major societal issue.

Now, how do we make something like this happen at the University of Utah? Well, we are so fortunate to be helped by the leadership of a remarkable faculty member, our very own Professor Chris Linder. Chris is an associate professor of educational leadership and policy in the College of Education. Her past experience, which I think is remarkable and unusual for a tenured faculty member, is that she has been a director of an Office of women's Programs and Studies at Colorado State. That office focused on sexual violence advocacy, response and education. She was also a staff member at the University of Missouri in student affairs. She was a coordinator of the Rape Education Office.

Now, how lucky are we to have this national leader on our own campus? She's also an author, co-editor of a book on student activism and an author of the book, “Sexual Violence on Campus: Power-Conscious Approaches to Awareness, Prevention, and Response,” that was just published in 2018. Chris has been a wonderful colleague. She joined my office last year as a special assistant focused on violence education and prevention and now takes on the role of director of this new center. Chris is the right person to lead this important effort, and we are the right place to move forward in our research and our education efforts.

Chris, are you talking about the center or am I going to pass to you for that? Should I do just a little bit more?


Chris Linder

You can do whatever you would like. That works.


President Watkins

Okay. So, why this center? Why here? Why now? Certainly, we know that relationship and sexual violence is a significant issue on our campus, and we know that it's an issue on many campuses. We're committed to focusing and making change and moving these issues forward in a research-informed way with the voices and support and help of our students, our community partners and our donors.

Our goal is to take the education and knowledge that we develop here to other campuses around the nation. What an incredible opportunity for us to develop a vision that sets us apart from others. We know that the strength of our campus will be the engagement of our students, as well as our faculty and our donors in supporting this effort. We think the Center for Violence Prevention can become a very innovative hub, a hub that brings together students with concerns and issues, with community partners who want to help us succeed in this vision, with donors who are committed to supporting safety and the prevention of violence, and a really incredible faculty cadre, with the leadership of Dr. Chris Linder, to help us move forward.

Thanks to every one of you for taking a few minutes today to be part of this, to support this effort in your work. It is an exciting opportunity for the university. So, Chris, I think I'm going to pass to you to take it from here. We're really grateful for your leadership. I'm seeing a lot of familiar faces here from students, staff and community. I'm grateful to every one of you for joining in this. And thank you particularly to those of you who have agreed to volunteer your service on our advisory board. We appreciate your help. Chris, back to you.


Chris Linder

Thank you so much, President Watkins. I'm really grateful for your support and encouragement of the Center for Violence Prevention. So, really inspiring to see how much work has happened on our campus in the last few years, and I'm very excited to be part of all of the work that's happening to move us forward.

So, for folks on the webinar, we do have this set up as a webinar, not a meeting today. The folks you see on your screen are members of the advisory board for the Center for Violence Prevention, who I'm going to introduce in just a few minutes. We also have it set up so that you are welcome to submit questions via the question-and-answer box, and our plan is that a couple of members of the advisory board are going to be monitoring that question-and-answer box throughout the time today. And at the end, we'll answer questions that sort of come up multiple times as big picture questions. And then anything we don't have time to get to during the one hour we have set aside for the webinar, I will email you individually with responses to those questions that we don't get to today. So please feel free to submit any questions that you might have as we're going through the presentation today in that question-and-answer box.

To get us started, I'm going to start walking us through a brief presentation about the Center for Violence Prevention. President Watkins gave a good overview of how we got to where we are and sort of how this fits into what else is happening on campus. As we move in to this, I want to make sure that we stop and do a very brief land and labor acknowledgment, recognizing that the work that we do at the University of Utah does take place on land that is colonized from Indigenous people, specifically through violence, including sexual violence. I think it's a really important piece for us to remember as we move forward in our work. Specifically, the Bannock, Goshute, Navajo, Paiute, Shoshone and Ute peoples lived on the land that is now considered Utah. Further, it was likely enslaved people, primarily of Indigenous and African descent, who provided exploited labor on which the University of Utah was built. This is true for the vast majority of institutions of higher education across the country. Therefore, it's important to acknowledge the land and the labor exploitation that took place as we engage in equity and justice work.

Additionally, it's important to recognize that the moment that we're living in right now in the U.S. is not separate from the work of relationship and sexual violence. As most of us know, people in the United States started paying very close attention to issues of police violence and racial justice in our country this summer. And even right here in Salt Lake City, we saw a number of protests raising awareness about issues of police violence and racial justice in our country. And I think it's just important to acknowledge that the work that we are doing on our campus related to relationship and sexual violence is not disconnected from that and it's important that we recognize that as part of our work as well.

As we keep moving forward, I do want to stop here and briefly introduce the members of the advisory board for the Center for Violence Prevention at the U. And so I'm just going to go through my screen in the order that they are there. Actually, no, I'm going to go in alphabetical order and read folks' titles. And as I read your name, if you could please do a brief wave, that would be helpful.

So, first of all, we have Brooke Adams, who's the Executive Communication Manager in University of Marketing and Communication. Brooke? Ayana, I'm not sure if Ayana was able to join us today. I think she might have class during this time, but Ayana Amaechi is the vice president for university relations in ASUU and she's a member of our advisory board. Brian Burton, associate dean of students and director of student accountability and support. Dhiraj Chand, who is the senior director of leadership and principal giving at Institutional Advancement, and he also is the chairperson for the board of directors for the Rape Recovery Center in Salt Lake.

Uma Dorn is the assistant director of psychology and wellness for the University of Utah Athletics Department. Uma? Meligha Garfield is the director of the Black Cultural Center at the University of Utah. Meligha? Brittany Badger Gleed is the director of the Center for Student Wellness at the University of Utah. Kwynn Gonzalez-Pons is a doctoral student in the College of Social Work and was also the co-chair for the Healthy Relationships Task Force at the U two years ago. Tara Hardison is the director of the Office of Student Engagement and Assessment in the Eccles School of Business. Leilani Marshall is the assistant dean of student affairs in the College of Law here at the University of Utah. Heather Melton. Heather is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Utah.

And Jessie Richards. Jessie is an assistant professor and lecturer in the Department of Management in the Eccles School of Business. Aarushi, there you are. Aarushi Rohaj is a student and she's the founder and president of SAFE, which is a student organization, and stands for Students for Action Focused Empowerment. Michelle Valdes. Michelle, there she is. Michelle is the current vice president for Student Relations for ASUU. Heidi Woodbury. Heidi is the vice president for Advancement. And Kortney Hinckley. Kortney, say hi. Thank you. And Kortney, sorry, I don't have your title right in front of me. You want to share it real quick?


Kortney Hinckley

Sure. I work with Heidi Woodbury in Advancement.


Chris Linder

Thank you. So, thank you to all of the advisory board members for being here to join us today. As you can tell from the advisory board for the center, we're trying to be very intentional about being inclusive of students and student affairs professionals, so the folks on sort of the front lines doing a lot of the prevention and education work with students. So that's a very intentional design of this advisory board. And this summer, the advisory board has been hard at work developing the strategic plan for the center, which we're going to talk about in a few minutes.

But first, I'm going to go back and give a little bit more history of how we got to where we are, which President Watkins started to address.


President Watkins

Can I just say thank you to this amazing group of people?


Chris Linder

Of course.


President Watkins

A lot of friends here, thank you for your work, for joining together to make great things happen. Chris, thank you for your wisdom in picking such a talented team. Wow. I'm impressed. Thank you. We appreciate you.


Chris Linder

Thank you, President Watkins. Okay, so as we keep moving forward, we wanted to talk a little bit, President Watkins talked about this a little bit, but one of the things I always do whenever I do presentations is talk a little bit about beyond my academic experiences, who I am and what I bring to this work. And I do this as a way to hopefully role model for all of us to think about how our identities beyond our academic credentialing really influence who we are and how we show up in the work that we do every day.

So, I identify as a queer, white cisgender woman from a working-class background. Those are the parts of my identity that are really salient for me as I think about doing this work. And then I also identify as a secondary survivor of interpersonal violence. I grew up in a home with domestic violence. Until I was about 13 years old, there was abuse happening in my home, and so that certainly informs who I am and sort of how I show up. And then the other thing that President Watkins already talked about is I kind of did this faculty thing backwards. Most people become faculty first and then they become a university administrator, but I actually worked in the higher ed as an administrator for about 10 years prior to becoming a faculty member.

And so, as President Watkins talked about, I worked in a women's center and did a lot of work around interpersonal violence response and education on campus. And then, of course, I became a faculty member in a higher ed program where my research interest largely centered around examining relationship and sexual violence through a power-conscious framework, which basically means being really mindful of the ways that power and identity show up in our work.

Additionally, one of the things that we wanted to make sure that we talked about, there are lots of ways that people describe and talk about issues of relationship and sexual violence. We talk about it broadly and we include everything under this umbrella. So, when we're talking about relationship and sexual violence, we're talking about anything from sexual assault, rape, relationship and dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, among many other behaviors that people use to abuse their power as it relates to intimate partner relationships.

One of the things that we know is that college students also use very different language to describe their experiences with relationship and sexual violence, and so one of the grants that President Watkins was talking about from the Vice President for Research’s office is focused on trying to figure out how do we talk to college students about this issue since they use such different language than many educators and administrators use around this topic.

Additionally, we wanted to talk about a few things that led to the development of the center. First of all, one of the things we know is that the first documented study examining sexual violence, including sexual harassment, was done in 1957, and, in fact, rates of violence have not changed since that first study was done. Now back in 1957, the research primarily focused on women and probably even more exclusively on cisgender women. Thankfully, our research has advanced a little bit since then, though we still have a lot of work to do in that arena. But that study in 1957 documented that about one in five women in college had experienced sexual harassment or assault. And as you know, that's about where our numbers are today for college students.

The other thing that's important for us to think about as we engage in this work related to relationship and sexual violence is that there actually is a difference between awareness, prevention and response. Unfortunately, on college and university campuses all across the United States, we spend an inordinate amount of time responding to violence after it happens. And this happens for a few reasons. One is that the policies in place sort of lead us to responding to relationship and sexual violence. As you can see here, this quote from this author, this is from a review article.

She talks about how, even if colleges want to reduce the overall rate of sexual assault, we only risk liability under Title IX for a bad response, which in many ways, requires us to heavily focus on response after it happens rather than being able to move upstream and engage in primary prevention, which is one of the things that we want to try and do is to compliment the work that's already being done at the U that has really stepped up to improve our response. We don't want to take away from that because certainly, having a good response is really important while violence is still happening, but we want to add to that by taking the initiative and doing some work that addresses violence from a primary prevention lens.

The other component that's important for us to pay attention to is that we know that sexual violence is wound with all forms of oppression, but frequently gets separated out as its own thing. We know that perpetrators target bisexual women, gay men, transgender people, Indigenous women, and women with disabilities at even higher rates than their peers. So that one in five statistic that we often hear about is a generic statistic that's supposed to apply across all identities, but we know when we break it down and look even deeper into the numbers, that people with minoritized identities are targeted at even higher rates by perpetrators.

And the last component that is sort of guiding our work is that most of the research on this topic . . . so I did a study a couple of years ago with several colleagues and we looked at 10-years’ worth of research on campus relationship and sexual violence. And one of the things that we found is that more than 50% of the research done during that time period focused on victimization risk factors and fewer than 10% of the articles focused on perpetration risk factors. And so that seems like something that we should be addressing, that if we better understood perpetrators and perpetration, we might be able to do a better job of intervening before the violence happens. So that's another component.

And that leads us to where we are today. We’re hoping that we can try something new. So, again, not taking away from the great work that's being done around response, but hopefully, taking some time and figuring out ways to try some innovative strategies to engage in primary prevention.

So, the mission statement for the center is that we will serve as a national leader in the fight to reduce relationship and sexual violence among college students. Using a power-conscious intersectional framework, we seek to bridge the gap between research and practice by bringing together the expertise of researchers, prevention educators and students to execute a comprehensive research agenda focused on the primary prevention of relationship and sexual violence and to disseminate that knowledge across the U.S.

So, why here? Why now? President Watkins talked about this a little bit, but for me, in addition to doing the land and labor acknowledgment at the beginning of this presentation, it's also important to acknowledge that in one academic year we had three people affiliated with our campus murdered by either intimate partners or dating partners of some sort. And so that really gave us, unfortunately, some momentum to start to address this problem in a more public way, I would say. I think we've gotten a lot of attention at the U, which has caused more people to pay attention than have in the past. And we think it's an important time to start to pay attention to this and to honor victims and survivors everywhere, but especially the ones affiliated with our campus.

We also have a ton of momentum happening on this campus, like President Watkins talked about. We have all of these 1U4U research grants, the grant that Dr. Salari is leading from the Office of Violence Against Women, the Student Wellness Center is doing excellent work in this area as well. We've recently established the Department of Public Service and Community Services programs closely affiliated with UUPD. We have the Gender-based Violence Consortium that Dr. Annie Fukushima is leading, like President Watkins talked about. The Health Sciences campuses have their own domestic violence committee where they're working to educate providers about how to best support survivors and intervene when they can. And then you can see here, we have a couple of student organizations also involved. We also have strong leadership across campus, which also makes this a good time to start moving us in this direction.

So, with that, I'm going to start to turn this over. Several advisory board meetings have agreed to share with you a little bit about the six goals that the center advisory board put together this summer. So, goal number one, are you ready?


Aarushi Rohaj

Yes. Alright. So, for the first goal, the Center for Violence Prevention, we would like to educate and raise more awareness about relationship and sexual violence prevention to all campus community members. That includes faculty, staff, students and administrative members as well. And in order to accomplish that goal, we would like to take various different initiatives and be a part of various different programs and create different types and styles of events, where we can interact with a broad range of individuals across campus.

We're trying to stay far from the one size fits all approach and we would like to have various different events where we can interact with different student groups and various different organizations across campus and create more personal connection, depending upon the experiences of those groups, so we can create this personal connection with various different individuals across campus.

There are four different major objectives that fall under this goal. The first objective is to design a monthly workshop series for faculty, staff, students and administrative members who are interested in expanding their understanding of relationship and sexual violence prevention. For example, a workshop series could be we would pick a certain topic and a group of individuals could get together and discuss their experiences, share their ideas or any concerns that they may have related to that topic. For example, there's a lot of myths and assumptions regarding relationship and sexual violence, so that could be a topic that we could put out where a lot of individuals could come and interact with one another and talk more about that.

The second objective is to organize and support student affinity groups to address issues of relationship and sexual violence within specific minoritized communities who are frequently left out of research and practice. So this objective falls kind of back to what I was saying before about how we are trying to stay a little far away from the one size fits all and really be able to build a personal connection and create different events where a lot of individuals can interact with one another, whether they are in different colleges on campus or different minority groups, to be able to realize and understand the experiences of different individuals all across the community.

The third objective is to maintain an active blog that has two posts per month and also an active social media account to educate campus members about relationship and sexual violence prevention. Obviously, now, with technology and social media, it is a really great way to reach out to a large group of individuals, having an active social media and also a blog post should be very beneficial and just raising more awareness and also educating various campus members at the university.

And for the fourth objective, we would like to facilitate regular meetings with groups and organizations who are dedicated to addressing relationship and sexual violence to share updates and requests. We would love to connect and interact with other groups who may have similar goals or even different goals but be able to partner with them where we can work towards something together and also be able to share our different ideas and experiences, and provide support and encouragement as well.

So that kind of summarizes overall what our first goal is and how we would like to educate campus community members and raise more awareness about relationship and sexual violence prevention. But I would say the main takeaway point is that we would like to be able to interact with a broad range of individuals across campus and we would like to hold different events and partner with different community members so that we can just create a personal connection with various different individuals across campus.

Chris Linder

Thank you, Aarushi. Kwynn?


Kwynn Gonzalez-Pons

Hi. Okay, so I'm going to over goal two very briefly. So, our second goal for the center is to engage researchers in education and professional development to conduct critically conscious research focused on understanding the role of power in relationship and sexual violence. This research will specifically focus on understanding behaviors of people who perpetrate violence and the influence of student cultures on RSV among college students.

We have a couple objectives that fall under that, including creating an academic course for graduate students to study RSV through these intersectional and power-conscious lenses, as well as designing a learning community for current faculty and researchers who want to conduct this research.

So, Dr. Linder has talked about perpetrators being typically understudied in these fields of research and, like she said, we can offer safeguards for victims all day long, but if we're not addressing perpetrators and common perpetrator behaviors, we're really not going to be able to eradicate these issues on our campus. We need to understand who on our campus is perpetrating these crimes and in what ways. And so, we're going to do that by looking at these questions through rules of power and student cultures or identities.

So, when we talk about student cultures, we're talking about things that a student participates in and identifies as, or who to hang out with and what they do. Some examples might be a student status as an international student, a transfer student, a student athlete, students that participate in group activities or other campus clubs, and via their gender, sexual, minority status, racial, ethnic, and other economic identities that they relate to.

We not only want our researchers to be aware of this, but we want them to actually build it into their curriculums when they're teaching other students and into their research processes.


Chris Linder

Thank you, Kwynn. Tara?


Tara Hardison

Thanks, Chris. Our third goal is to engage people responsible for shaping campus environments in education and professional development to both reduce harm and ultimately shift campus cultures related to relationship and sexual violence. And Aarushi sort of alluded to this, but ultimately, we want people to think about prevention differently. And to do this, we need to create educational and professional development opportunities that are both relevant and appropriate for different campus populations.

This school does have a more intentional focus on staff and faculty, but we're also considering student leaders, graduate teaching assistants and other folks that have leadership roles on campus. And again, we want to get away from the one size fits all model and we know that research sort of tells us that is important for us to be successful and in the broader goals of the center.

And so, we do have a series of objectives around the school, and I'm going to illuminate a few of them that relate to some up-and-coming ways that the center is going to hopefully start enacting some of the goals on campus. So, specifically, I work in the College of Business, as Chris mentioned when she introduced me, and our initial consultation with Chris illuminates one of the objectives that I'm going to mention here, which is to write evaluations, assessments and consultations for departments and programs that seek to better understand how their cultures and environments may perpetuate harmful behaviors contributing to relationship and sexual violence.

This past semester, Chris met with a group of staff and faculty to have a discussion about some of our goals related to how we can improve and be more intentional with our campus culture as it relates to the business school. And so from that listening session, Chris ultimately developed a three-part educational series, which lends itself to objective two that I'm going to mention here, which is implement and evaluate a relationship and sexual violence prevention educational series for faculty, staff, students and other key stakeholders in specific colleges.

So in the spring, we're going to launch this pilot with the center and the business school, and it's going to include key faculty and staff, and hopefully, ultimately, have a plan moving forward for our space specifically, which leads to the third objective that I'm going to mention, which is to support student educations dedicated to addressing relationship and sexual violence in campus safety through regular gatherings, professional development and ongoing communication. We have a Women in Business organization, which I'm the advisor for in the Eccles School, and ultimately, we're going to circle back to students with staff and faculty to hopefully have some common language and understanding about relationship and sexual violence prevention and some best practices moving forward for our space.

Now there are a couple of other objectives, but due to time, I'm going to pass it on to the next goal.


Chris Linder

Thank you, Tara. Brittany.


Brittany Badger Gleed

Alright. So, this fourth goal, we included to really help us to explore, design and initiate research and education focused on intervening with those who perpetrate harm, and also for those who may be at high risk for engaging in harmful behaviors. I think Dr. Linder did a great job of discussing that the majority of prevention and education efforts nationally focus a lot on reducing victimization among those who might be at high risk to be a victim. And so, this goal is a really important piece to what we'll be focusing on in the center so that we can really try to focus more on how we help apply that primary prevention lens to reduce perpetration in the first place.

And so just a couple of the objectives, because we have quite a few under this umbrella. We do recognize that we need to conduct some additional research. This is an area that is lacking nationally, and so we would like to make sure that we are collecting important research to help inform what types of interventions or educational opportunities we would have on our campus for those who maybe have been found responsible for sexual misconduct or who may be exhibiting harmful behaviors on the lower end of that spectrum.

We also want to be able to focus on engaging male-identified students, faculty and staff across campus to be a part of these efforts, to really help us to explore gender socialization and to help us figure out how we can do better at employing a healthier sense of masculinity on our campus to help reduce perpetration and harmful behaviors.

And then, just the last objective to include in that, we also want to make sure that we are focusing on including some education for our campus community about principles of transformative justice and how we can integrate those principles into our relationship and sexual violence prevention efforts.


Chris Linder

Thanks, Brittany. Jessie.


Jessie Richards

So, our goal number five relates to the one Brittany just mentioned. This one has to do with coordinating research teams of faculty, staff and students, and then to provide seed grant funding for research and practice projects that are explicitly focused on the primary prevention of relationship and sexual violence among college students. So, some of the objectives around this goal are to identify and develop sustainable funding mechanisms for these research grants, and President Watkins is already fundraising for this. We really appreciate those efforts.

The second objective is to provide seed money to teams of researchers and practitioners, with the specific focus on primary prevention. And the key takeaway there is we want to require research teams to not just be academic researchers but to also have practitioners on the research teams so that all of the research is grounded in practice.

And then objective three is to provide an ongoing support for research practice teams who are awarded the funding so that they, perhaps, meet quarterly or to help them feel supported throughout the full research process. It's not just funding, it's funding and then follow-up and support.

And then lastly, objective four is to provide a mechanism for sharing those results through the Center for Violence Prevention so that the results of that research can be available for everyone on campus and in our larger community.


Chris Linder

Thank you, Jessie. Dhiraj?


Dhiraj Chand

Hey, everyone. I get the privilege of talking about our last goal, and this is probably our most long-term goal and it ties directly with the university's mission to generate and disseminate knowledge into the community and to the world. But this is to contribute to larger efforts to eradicate relationship and sexual violence among college students by sharing research and practice initiatives in state and regional and national forums.

With that, there's a few objectives. One of them is to host a symposium of researchers and educators dedicated primarily to prevention of relationship and sexual violence. Objectives two and three sort of correspond with each other, but we know that campus climate strategies and assessments are really important, so this would be to develop and implement and share strategies for assessing, monitoring campus climates as it relates to relationship and sexual violence, including a comprehensive campus climate protocol that includes qualitative and textual data collection.

With objective number three, this would be to expand the two other institutions beyond the university to test the protocol and share with campuses nationally. And then the last objective is, as appropriate, is to expand the educational and professional development programs offered to the Center for Violence Prevention to a state and national audience.


Chris Linder

Thank you, Dhiraj. Thanks to all the advisory board members for their assistance this summer. We had a lot of meetings working on the strategic plan and I feel really proud of where it came to and how we got there in our process for engaging on the strategic plan. We know that a strategic plan is just a guide. Our hope is that, as things grow and evolve and change, we see this as very much a living document and something that we can change as we need to, to keep up with the changes happening on our campus and in our world, broadly. But we feel like this is a good starting place for us.

So, I skipped over a slide a little bit earlier about sort of what I would call the unique contributions of the center. I want to go back to that now. There is a lot of work happening around relationship and sexual violence on our campus and in our state and in our nation, and so we want to talk a little bit about maybe what makes this unique. And one of them is that it's explicitly and intentionally focused on primary prevention, and it's also intentionally focused on campus and college students. Much of the literature about relationship and sexual violence does focus on college students, but it only focuses on college students as a convenience sample. It doesn't necessarily take into account the unique structures and environments on college campuses. So that's a component of it.

Of course, employing the power-conscious and intersectional framework. So being very intentional, though not exclusive, but very intentional in having a focus on students from minoritized backgrounds, including students of color, LGBT students and students with disabilities, among others, as we continue to learn about the experiences of minoritized students with violence. We're also hoping to move beyond this traditional expert model to avoid an echo chamber. So being intentional about making sure that students are involved at every level and every component of this process. This is something that we're putting out there because we want people to hold us accountable to it. And then, making sure that we have clear boundaries and foci.

For me, this is always an ongoing tension. It's really, really important that people across the spectrum of doing work around relationship and sexual violence are communicating with each other and are supporting each other, and that sort of thing. And it's also important for each of us to have a specific focus because if we don't have or maintain that focus, sometimes, our efforts can get really watered down by trying to be too many things to too many people. And so we're going to be working really hard to find that balance of making sure that we're working with and supporting other people doing this work and at the same time, being intentionally focused on college students and primary prevention, which will largely take, in the first three years at least, the perspective of trying to better understand perpetration and how to address perpetration.

The last two slides, just really quickly, show the structure of the center. As of right now, we're working on hiring some staff for the center. And the staff of the center will carry out the day-to-day activity. So, taking the strategic plan and really start to implement it. Right now, that's me part time, I still have my full-time faculty gig, as well as some undergraduate and graduate students. In the future, we hope to have enough funding to hire additional staff in the center, hopefully, a co-director at some point as well as some post-doc research fellows. We also have the internal advisory board, which is the group you met today. We have an external group called the community advocates that is supporting the work of the center financially and doing community advocacy. We'll be establishing working groups to address each of the objectives under the strategic plan.

And then we have the Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Education Collective that Brittany Badger Gleed and I initiated last year, and those folks will continue, hopefully, if they want to, will continue to support what's happening at the center and really help us be on-campus ambassadors for making sure that information gets out there as best we can.

And then you can see over here to the side, we have dotted lines to all these other organizations that are doing work related to relationship and sexual violence on campus. We'll be very intentional about making sure we're staying in touch with each of these groups, recognizing that we have missed some in this list and that we know that this will continue to grow and evolve. We also don't know exactly what these relationships will look like, but we'll be reaching out to each of these groups in the near future to talk about what do you want a partnership to look like, do you want a partnership, those kinds of things. So, that's next.

And then finally, we've alluded a few times to funding the center, a few things related to that. So right now, we're heavily relying on private donor support. We've gotten some excellent support from donors in the community to support the work of the center. As of right now, that's where everything is coming from. We are also going to start, this will probably happen in years two and three of the Center for Violence Prevention, but we want to start to generate revenue by — so as of right now, the primary mechanism that campuses get information about their climates as it relates to relationship and sexual violence largely is a quantitative survey, and there are probably three or four surveys that campuses heavily rely on.

We actually participate in one of those, the AAU survey, which is a really helpful way for us to have an understanding of the breadth of the issue on our campus, but what we think we can add to this as a center is really deepening campuses' understanding of their campus climate by offering, and Jessie talked a little bit about this when she was talking about the research, but offering more in-depth kinds of climate study, so doing qualitative research, sort of looking at policy and practice on campus, that sort of thing. We hope that's something that, eventually, once we try it out a few times, that might be something that campuses may be willing to pay for, which could help sustain the work of the center over the long term. And we know there will be other ideas that come up as we keep going.

Here's the final slide. If this is intriguing to you and if you'd like to be involved in any way, here is how we recommend you get in touch with us. Our mailing list will consist of regular newsletters that will include announcements about involvement opportunities. It will also include information about educational and professional development opportunities. And then as we start to build the work groups for the specific goals and objectives, we'll also include invitations for folks to participate on those work groups. So, if you're interested in any of these, please send us an email at, and we'll get you added to our list where we will start to share this information.

That is the conclusion of the information that we wanted to share. We're also happy to take any questions that you might have via the question-and-answer box, and also, you're welcome to follow up with me or any of the advisory board members individually as well if you would like. Advisory board members, anything you want to add or share?


Dhiraj Chand

If I could just add. This is Dhiraj. If you know of people who really want to be involved, particularly with our community advisors and helping us fund the future of the center, please have them reach out to me or Heidi Woodbury or Kortney Hinckley. We would love to chat with them and get them more involved with supporting some of our goals with the center and the long-term sustainability of the center.


Chris Linder

Thank you.


Brooke Adams

I just like to give a shout out to the students who are participating here. Thank you so much. We need your voices so much in this area, and I know that you have a lot going on with school and leadership and all of that but thank you for making this a priority.


President Watkins

Let me pile on to that and say how wonderful it is to see students, side-by-side with staff, with faculty, with donors. Good things will happen because of you all, and really, really appreciate the commitment and partnership of our students who see things, know things, hear things that we do not, so thank you. And maybe it's a good time to say extra special thanks to Chris Linder who has many roles at the university, but how lucky we are to have her on our faculty with the experience that she's had and her willingness to step in and lead. Look, Chris, lots of big rounds of applause for you.


Chris Linder

Thank you. I appreciate that. Oh, I see some questions. Yay. Oh, no questions, just comments. But thank you all, so, so much for participating today. Thanks for taking an hour out of your day. Thank you, President Watkins. I didn't expect that you were going to get to stay the whole time, so I'm so grateful that you're still here.


President Watkins

Glad I could because first of all, to really see this board in action, to hear the goals and objectives that you've laid out, really, your voice is heard here and it's far better than what we would have done, had we done it without you, so thank you for that. I love the very focused goals and the objectives that you're creating a roadmap for a really vibrant future for the university and the chance to move into leadership in an area of great need. I think any time we can move from reaction to supplement that with prevention, we will be a better place. So, well done.


Chris Linder

Thank you. And thank you, advisory board. Thank you, attendees. We're grateful for your presence here, and please, take us up on our offer. Reach out and provide any feedback or support or ideas that you might have.


President Watkins

Chris, there's a question about the slides. Can people access the slides?


Chris Linder

Oh, yes. Thank you. Yes. Actually, we've been recording this whole presentation, and so that will be available, and I'm happy to share the slides with you individually, if you'd like to email me and you just want the slides and not the video, but we'll make the video available on the Center for Violence Prevention website, which should be up by the end of the week. We're meeting about that this afternoon as well. So, exciting times.


President Watkins

Thank you.


Chris Linder

Yes. Thank you, all, so much. Have a great rest of your day.


President Watkins

Thank you.