An awareness program at Northeastern State University recently received a renewal and will continue to operate in coordination with other area institutions.
The Violence Prevention Office on the Tahlequah campus was established in October 2007 by a flagship grant now renewed for another two years. In a memorandum of understanding signed by NSU President Don Betz on June 29, NSU pledged with the Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma and other member institutions to continue pursuing the program's goals of preventing and responding to domestic violence.
“The function of the Violence Prevention office is on-campus,” said Heather Adney, coordinator of violence prevention for NSU. “However, when working with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or dating violence, I refer victims to services out in the community if we do not offer them on-campus.”
First on the program's agenda was the creation of a coordinated community response team to include University Housing, the University Police, Help-In-Crisis, the Cherokee County District Attorney's Office and the office of Student Affairs.
“Up to now, most efforts have been spent building relationships across campus and within the community,” said Adney. “This is to help educate those on campus about domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence, along with publicizing the purpose of the office.”
Goals also include the creation and maintenance of education and training programs for incoming students, campus officials and community members.
“My role is to conduct educational opportunities for new students, develop educational programs throughout the year, maintain Community Education Response Team meetings and to advocate for those who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence on our campus,” said Adney.
NSU and other Oklahoma regional universities coordinate violence prevention programs under the leadership of East Central University, which had worked with similar grants and programs before receiving the RUSO grant.
“We were able to adopt much of what ECU's Campus Initiative to Reduce Crime Against Women had developed and tailor what we received to fit our universities – like programming events, policies and training materials,” said Adney.
As part of the flagship grant, the regional universities of Oklahoma report to the Office of Violence Against Women through ECU with two annual assessments and attend conferences as a consortium group.
Adney said the NSU Violence Prevention office has made a noticeable impact on campus in the past three years.
“A major emphasis has been on changing cultural attitudes," said Adney. "It has been a great achievement to create a buzz on campus about violence against women.”
In addition to strengthening existing entities, the future calls for additional violence prevention projects.
“I am currently working with a group of individuals that are interested in developing a task force specific to colleges and universities in the Muskogee-Tahlequah area,” said Adney. “Development of a men’s group to empower men to stop violence against women is also under way for the upcoming year.”
The Violence Prevention Office is a federally-funded program at Northeastern State University designed to make the campus a safer place for young men and women to educate and prepare themselves for their life’s work in our world. For more information, contact Heather Adney at (918) 444-2255.
Published: 7/14/2010 9:38:41 AM