Federal grant funds sexual violence prevention position

Molly Sweeney

Augustana College has received a grant from The Department of Justice (DOJ) to fund a new position on campus called the director of sexual violence prevention and education. Zachery Draves has been hired for this position with the goal of changing the culture around sexual violence and building a community that looks out for one and other.
Farrah Roberts, director of student well-being and resiliency, was involved in the grant writing process for this position and explains that it is a three-year-grant with the goal of educating and empowering students.
Draves’ position will be deliberately separate from Title IX cases on campus, which was a caveat of the DOJ.
“[The DOJ] did not want this person to be involved in the reaction to an incident. They wanted them to be on the front end. So, sometimes I think when people are involved in both sides of a process it’s too hard to separate yourself out and really focus on one well,” Roberts said.
The first draft of Draves’ strategic plan to address sexual violence is due in April. The second draft is due in August, and the final draft will be due in October.
“We are working right now to make sure that our strategic plan is reflective of where the campus is at now and what we want to see happen going forward in accordance with what the grant requires,” Draves said.
Roberts will be working closely alongside Draves to prevent sexual violence and encourage education at Augustana.
“[Draves’] job description is really around bringing more education about sexual violence prevention. Specifically, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, those are the main areas he will be tasked to address,” Roberts said. “The target areas that he will be looking to just increase the education around, in addition to all of campus, is the populations of our international students, our males on campus and then, also, our LGBTQIA+ [students].”
In addition to educating the community about sexual violence, Draves will also oversee the Coordinated Community Response Team.
“We’re hitting the ground running and making sure that we let the students and the campus community at large know that we have a committee, we have a team in place that is working on the implementation of programs that will last long term, as well as developing a strategic plan to make sure that what we put together is living up to the requirements of the grant that we were given,” Draves said.
Chris Beyer, director of residential life, explains that this position was created to specifically focus on problems that Augustana faces and to correct them.
“I think our hope is that Zachary will be a very close partner for the one of the challenges that we’ve had and I think that this is true at many small schools, is that we haven’t really had anyone who was specifically in charge of prevention work,” Beyer said.
Overall, residential life’s goal is to create a safe place for students. Creating a new position focused solely on sexual violence prevention will make it easier for them to foster these safe spaces.
“We want to be partners with [Draves] in terms of programming and promoting his initiatives.” Beyer said. “But we want to focus on what we do best, which is building community and creating that three year developmental experience, preparing people for success senior year and beyond.”
Roberts, in agreement with Beyer, said that the number one goal is to foster a safe environment for students.
“What is it that students are afraid of, what is it that students want us to do to protect them, but then also how can students protect each other and how can we enable you to do that safely,” Roberts said.
Beyer is optimistic that RezLife and Draves will be able to work together in order to keep students safe.
“The hope is that those proactive measures now have a champion and the dedicated administrator to really level them up to where they need to be. So it’s kind of like the offense and the defense. He’s on offense we’re on defense, but we’re on the same team.” Beyer said.
Within these three years that the grant is held, Draves is hopeful to implement impactful programs and to reach out to certain groups of students. One specific goal he has in mind is to implement 40 hour training sessions for the community.
“[For] students who want to get more involved and staff and faculty who want to get more involved in domestic violence and sexual assault awareness, they can betrained to understand what sexual assault is, what domestic violence is, how it impacts certain populations [and]  what is the law, [and] that can be really effective in terms of broadening our scope,” Draves said.
Draves is also interested in assessing the Mentors and Violence Prevention Program (MVP Program) at Augustana.
“That has been proven effective when it comes to bystander intervention, and is a widely popular program,” Draves said. “So I want to look at what approach they’ve been taking with MVP, and then look to see if there’s any room for expansion to see if there’s any room for new approaches to be taken.”
However, Beyer acknowledges that it is not simply up to RezLife or Draves to create a safe community at Augustana.
“It requires the entire community, not just caring about prevention, but the entire community behaving differently,” Beyer said. “To change culture we have to change behavior. We have to change our behavior, and not just some of us, not just the CA’s or the students who care deeply about this but literally everybody.”
Actual change takes time. Although this is a step in the right direction, Beyer explains that it is important to be patient and to continue to work towards creating a safe community.
“I hope everybody understands that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you know we shouldn’t expect to know come April [and then] things are suddenly different,” Beyer said.
Draves said he is hopeful to make a positive impact on the culture and community of Augustana.
“I think the first thing that I’m really focusing on is really making sure that I let the students know that I’m here.” Draves said. “Because at the end of the day, it’s about them. It’s about you. It’s about the student’s safety and their well-being.”