Asa Daniels, staff writer
On Feb. 24, Lindsey Taylor, vice president of student affairs, sent a campus-wide email announcing that Berry College was one of 50 recipients for the Campus Program award from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. The award is a grant to fund educational programs for reducing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking instances on college campuses. Berry’s grant totaled $300,000 for the three-year long program. According to Taylor’s email, the project is called The Berry Reducing Assault and Violence Education (BRAVE).
Berry alumna Ashley Demonbreun- Chapman (10C), is the project coordinator for BRAVE. Her main task as project coordinator will be overseeing and facilitating the Community Coordinated Response Team (CCRT). The CCRT includes Lindsey Taylor, Lindsey Norman, Ashley Demonbreun- Chapman, one campus safety officer, a member of the Sexual Assault Center in Rome and one person from Floyd County, according to Taylor. According to Demonbreun- Chapman, the team will be working together in strategic planning for how to implement the educational program at Berry.
“My role will be to coordinate the conversations, meetings, and collaboration, as well as research successful prevention topics and approaches in schools across the country, and bring the knowledge to our CCRT members,” Demonbreun-Chapman said.
Demonbreun-Chapman has experience on the matter of sexual assault education and prevention.
“I have worked as an advocate and prevention educator in the Rome and Floyd community for several years,” Demonbreun- Chapman said. “I have worked [with] local businesses, schools, and with educators to create and implement prevention specific to individual groups and communities sensitive to their unique needs.”
According to Taylor’s email, Demonbreun- Chapman has also worked at the Hospitality House and The Ruth and Naomi House in Rome.
To help Demonbreun-Chapman’s transition to Berry, Title IX officer Michael McElveen will serve as project director.
“I’ve been here for a while and [I can] help her navigate [systems at Berry] with my role working directly with the health center and counseling center and those big players on campus to support the grant project,” McElveen said. “It’s figuring out where I can help her be successful to help make the grant successful.”
McElveen has prior experience working with prevention on college campuses.
“I’ve been working in college health for my entire career in some form or fashion,” McElveen said. “I have a strong kind of prevention background and specifically on college campuses.”
For the first year, the program is limited to just planning, according to Taylor. It will be a time for assessing what the Berry campus needs while also strengthening the current ties with the greater Rome-Floyd community.
While Berry does theoretically have the full $300,000 at its use for The BRAVE, the CCRT will need to continue to submit reports to the Office on Violence Against Women in order to maintain a cash flow, Taylor said. In the first year, all the program can spend money on is Demonbreun-Chapman’s salary and expenses for traveling to educational events.
This week, from Tuesday to Thursday, the CCRT members will be in Atlanta for planning and training for the program. A second training will be in June.
The writing of the grant proposal began last spring, with Lindsey Taylor, Lindsey Norman, Donna Davin and an off-campus grant writing firm, according to Norman. According to Taylor, Berry was originally notified in October, withholding the public announcement until Demonbreun-Chapman was signed on for the job in January and finer details of the grant were worked out.
While the grant is still in its planning phases for the coming year, Taylor said that bystander intervention is going to be a big part of the grant program.
“The biggest chunk of change is for a program called Green Dot, and it is specific to bystander intervention education,” Taylor said. “We think that educating and equipping our students to not just be bystanders but knowing strategies of how to intervene, how to prevent, is really important.”
Even though the grant revolves around sexual harassment, Taylor said that it is different from being a Title IX program, mainly as it is focused on prevention.
“This is all about prevention, not responding,” Taylor said. “It’s helping us with the Title IX, which is great, but its separate from the Title IX process.”
For associate dean of students Lindsey Norman, she hopes that the program will educate students to be more mindful of their relationships and actions.
“I do hope, at the end of the day, it would prevent someone from hurting someone else,” Norman said. “That would be the main goal for me.”
Demonbreun-Chapman is excited not only for what the program may bring, but also wants students to be involved in the process.
“Students are what will make the prevention work relevant on our campus,” Demonbreun-Chapman said. “I want to hear from any and all of [them] that have any interest in this subject.”
Demonbreun-Chapman’s office is in the Residence Life section of the Health and Wellness Center, room nine, and she can be contacted at ADemonbreunChapman@berry.