Development of the program, which will be available to all area colleges and universities, is being directed by an experienced team of three investigators led by Joan McCool, Ph.D., director of the Buffalo State Counseling Center, and assisted by co-investigators Robert Delprino, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, and Roger Wisniewski, chief of Buffalo State's University Police Department. Advocacy partner Crisis Services will provide training, consulting and coverage for a student helpline. Criminal justice partners include the Buffalo Police Department and the Erie County District Attorney's Office.
"We are honored to be stewards of this important initiative, which is being welcomed by faculty, students and university police on campuses throughout our region," said McCool. "Collaboration with this experienced team of professionals will lead to a proactive, preventive strategy that puts our community ahead of this pervasive national issue."
The VAWOC grant encompasses seven key objectives to serve as "best practices" for all institutions of higher education:
* Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment
* Create a coordinated response team
* Develop and implement mandatory web-based training for students
* Expand coordination between campus and community police
* Enhance the role of university police
* Train campus judicial/disciplinary boards
* Establish a 24-hour student helpline
As part of the overall initiative, Buffalo State College will hold a day-long prevention training workshop on April 27 with Stephen Thompson, a national expert on sexual assault, sexual aggression and stalking. University Police, faculty, counselors, resident assistants and all student affairs staff will attend the session. That evening, Buffalo State College will host its annual "Take Back the Night" rally, which is designed to create a comfortable forum for members of the community and campus to speak out on the issue, discuss prevention and offer healing to survivors. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union.
For more information about the VAWOC initiative, contact the Buffalo State Counseling Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about "Take Back the Night," contact Tammy Kresge at email@example.com.