Home Social Justice Survivor Advocacy Program on campus without coordinator, no longer a confidential resource for students

Survivor Advocacy Program on campus without coordinator, no longer a confidential resource for students

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Delaney Anderson left her position as program coordinator for Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program on Friday, Oct. 16.

In her absence, OUSAP is no longer a confidential resource for victims of sexual assault and rape, as she was the sole confidential reporter for the program. A confidential reporter is a resource that a student can utilize knowing that there is no legal mandate for that individual to speak to anyone about potential cases of abuse.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) in the Hudson Health Center is now the only resource housing confidential reporters, and OUSAP is referring all pending and future clients to CPS.

Dr. Alicia Chavira-Prado, special assistant to the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, has taken over to provide administrative leadership, refer students to CPS and provide resource information to individuals seeking OUSAP’s services.

“We are undertaking a search for a licensed and credentialed program coordinator for the Survivor Advocacy Program,” Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Shari Clarke said in an email to the student body Tuesday. “Having a licensed and credentialed program coordinator is essential to providing the services and resources offered by OUSAP.”

In contrast to a confidential reporter, a mandatory reporter has an obligation, by Ohio law, to report potential cases of abuse. Chavira-Prado is a mandatory reporter, but this was not made clear in the communication students received from Clarke.

“(Chavira-Prado) is considered a mandated reporter, so her involvement will be contained to administrative leadership functions and will not cross over into any kind of advocacy support services,” said Bethany Venable, a spokeswoman for the university. “The office continues to operate and Dr. Chavira-Prado will provide referrals and information.”

Members of student activism organizations are speaking out.

“There was zero transparency,” said Jessica Roth, a sophomore studying sociology and global studies war and peace and a member of F*ckRapeCulture. “SAP was not functioning, and no one knew about it for the entire weekend until we got that email (from Dr. Clarke.) The general consensus is we all prefer SAP not to exist at all than to exist in this way.”  

Students now hear a recording directing them to CPS when they call SAP, and there is no longer any graduate student support.

“Graduate assistants and undergraduate peer advocates were not dismissed,” Venable said. “The graduate assistants are being reassigned because there would be no licensed, credentialed coordinator to oversee their work.”

Anderson tendered her resignation on Sept. 29. A search on the Ohio jobs page on Thursday at 5 p.m. did not show an opening for Program Coordinator of Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program, or any opening regarding OUSAP at all.

“Units at Ohio University must follow a series of steps to fill empty positions,” Venable said. “The Office for Diversity and Inclusion is following these steps to post the position and begin interviewing candidates. Providing needed support and counseling services to survivors is Ohio University’s first priority through this transition.”

But for now, students must go to CPS to be protected from mandated legal reporting. The reported wait time at CPS is up to two weeks. However, survivors can talk to a counselor immediately in crisis situations. Also, survivors can also contact the Ohio University Police Department and the Athens Police Department directly to file a police report.

Anyone seeking immediate help is urged to contact the 24-hour CPS crisis hotline at 740-593-1616.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article has been updated with more information regarding immediate counseling and filing police reports.

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One Comment

  1. […] participants at the burning ceremony dispersed, Gough spoke up about her frustrations with the Survivor Advocacy Program at OU being dissolved and the lack of support it left […]

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