Kent State recently introduced the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services to expand the number of support services the campus can offer to students.
In the past, the state recommended college campuses have a sexual assault response team, so the Kent State Police Department and the Women’s Center began discussing the possibilities of a response team for the Kent State campus said Assistant Police Chief Dean Tondiglia.
“We really couldn’t have been happier with the response from the Women’s Center and all the other departments,” Tondiglia said. “The Women’s Center had expressed some interest in wanting to do this before, so it was a mutual thing.”
The two groups reached out to many organizations and services including health services, residence services and psychological services, Tondiglia said.
The group hired Jennie O’Connell last fall as the sexual assault response team education intervention coordinator and created the SRVSS office last summer, Tondiglia said.
The creation of offices similar to Kent State’s SRVSS often don’t come about until instances of sexual assault increase, O’Connell said, but Kent State wanted create one as a preventative method.
With the creation of the SRVSS office, more services and help are available to students because the office deals with more than sexual assault.
“I’m here to support students and to help anyone get connected to resources, whether that’s counseling, medical, academic resources or talking through when things come up,” O’Connell said.
She said she wants to make sure no students feel alone during stressful or surprising situations.
SRVSS is currently working on a three to five year strategic plan to figure out what programs and topics the office should cover, how to raise awareness and how to market effectively, O’Connell said.
She also said the office assists faculty and staff by giving presentations during class to help educate students about the issues, effects and resources that help with sexual violence.
Although SRVSS is located in the Women’s Center, the office is open to all students regardless of gender.
“Sexual violence can happen to anyone,” O’Connell said. “We want all students, regardless of gender, to feel like they can come to the SRVSS office.”
The SRVSS Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in the Carriage House behind Nixson Hall.
Contact Mackenzie Blanton at [email protected]