Noting that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Vice-Chancellor Brigety announced that the University received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to reduce sexual assault on campus. New project director Maria Michonski will be dedicated to the work of the grant and the development of an effective prevention program.

Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety has announced that the University received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women, to “reduce sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus.”

At the end of 2020, Sewanee hired Maria Michonski as project director for campus sexual assault prevention, a new position funded by the grant. The University now has a full-time staff member dedicated to the work of the grant and the development of a comprehensive prevention program. Michonski will identify current prevention efforts at Sewanee and assess their effectiveness, evaluate campus needs, and then collaborate with others to plan and execute events, training, and programming that address those needs. The team will include community partners, University faculty and staff, and current students and alumni.

The new programs are designed to alter cultural norms at Sewanee. “All of this will serve to provide scaffolding for, and then to foster, a healthy and safe sexual climate at the University,” says Michonski. “We will work together to create a sustainable legacy for this work at Sewanee, so that sexual assault prevention is of central importance to the University for years to come.”

To ensure that the prevention strategies are effective and respond to student needs, student leadership will be a driving force and secondary approval network for the new campus prevention strategies. The vice-chancellor expects that the new efforts funded by the grant will equip the campus with the resources and skills needed to understand the causes and consequences of sexual assault, to respond with the services necessary for victims and survivors of such violence, and to engage men in the staff, faculty, and student body as leaders in this work.

The University will also welcome back Kaylei Goodine, C’19, as deputy Title IX coordinator, filling an open position. Goodine, who was the first chair of the Student Title IX Committee at Sewanee, will begin her new role in May. 

In a campus video expressing support for sexual assault prevention efforts, Vice-Chancellor Brigety said: “The ‘beloved community’ that we are building together here on the Mountain is one where the safety and well-being of everyone is a priority, where consent is respected, and where healthy sexual relationships are the norm. 

“Please join me in the coming months and years as we do everything in our power to prevent sexual violence, to support survivors, and to fundamentally change aspects of our campus climate that are harmful, so that we may move ever closer to aligning our actions with our values as reflected in EQB.”