The Center for Awareness, Response and Education is putting its services for sexual assault survivors on hold while the University hires replacements for its two vacant positions.
“This is sort of an unfortunate gap in services that we’re going to have for the first two weeks of the quarter,” said Lisa Currie, director of Health Promotion and Wellness.
Currie’s department oversees CARE, which provides confidential counseling services to sexual assault survivors and hosts sexual violence prevention programs on campus.
Both of CARE’s full-time staff members left Northwestern this year. Laura Anne Haave (formerly Stuart), sexual health education and assault prevention coordinator, left in August to take a position at Carleton College, and survivor advocate Eva Ball’s position has been vacant since July after she resigned for family reasons.
Currie said the University hopes to hire Haave’s replacement by October, and may also hire a temporary survivor advocate while searching for Ball’s replacement.
“In the meantime we have wonderful partnerships with the Women’s Center and CAPS,” Currie said. “They have helped students prior to CARE’s existence.”
CARE’s website also lists off-campus resources for sexual assault survivors.
In an annual report released July, CARE reported that it provided services to 78 students during the 2013-14 academic year, a 44 percent increase from the year before.
Weinberg senior Kayleen McMonigal called the lack of services at the beginning of this academic year “disappointing.”
“I think it’s really important, especially with incoming freshmen coming in and people who haven’t been on a college campus before,” McMonigal said. “It’s important to have those resources there in case something goes wrong.”
McMonigal led a discussion about sexual assault with new students Thursday night and said students should know where to go for sexual assault-related services.
“You’re pretty much supposed to highlight CARE, but you can’t really highlight CARE,” she said. “It’s difficult when they’re starting the year without resources.”
Hiring staff members for CARE can be difficult because of the positions’ unique requirements, Currie said. CARE members work with sexual assault survivors, advise student groups and participate in the Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence to prevent sexual assault and discuss University sexual assault policies.
“We seek staff members who have the ability not just to work with individual students or groups, but also have the ability to work with our campus partners,” Currie said. “The ability to work with other departments, this broader work around sexual violence prevention, is part and parcel of this work.”
Currie said the gap in services is only a “pause,” and CARE will continue its other campus work in the meantime.
“This is not a full stop,” she said. “We’re really committed to making sure CARE continues to exist for students.”
Currie said the sexual health education and violence prevention coordinator will be promoted to assistant director of CARE, and the office will develop a survey about sexual assault on campus to be released Winter Quarter to all students.
The campus climate survey was recommended by the White House’s college sexual assault task force in its April report.
Haave, who worked at NU for five years, told The Daily she hopes more students look for CARE services in the future and that the office focuses more on sexual violence prevention on campus. Haave helped to establish CARE on campus with a Department of Justice grant in 2011.
She also helped apply for a second grant in February, which CARE would use to hire a coordinator of men’s engagement and student employees. The results of the grant will be announced in October.
“I’m really proud of what we accomplished while I was there,” Haave said.
Currie said Haave is “deeply committed and passionate” and has a vast knowledge of sexual health and sexual violence prevention.
“That’s a challenge for us to replace,” Currie said. “Certainly that depth of knowledge will be missed.”
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Previous stories on this topic:
CARE reports increase in students using its services
CARE administrator Eva Ball to leave Northwestern
Northwestern to ‘closely examine’ White House sexual assault recommendations