Roberts temporarily heads SAAP
By Allyson Bennett, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, January 25, 2008
Rebel Roberts, a crime prevention specialist with Safety and Security, will assume the position of interim Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator on Monday, and will continue in this position through June 1. The SAAP Coordinator position has been vacant since Leah Prescott, the former coordinator, left the College in September 2007.
The search for a permanent SAAP Coordinator will continue over the course of Robert's stint as interim coordinator, according to Xenia Markowitt, director of the Center for Women and Gender, and will include interviews with potential candidates at an upcoming national job placement exchange. Roberts declined to comment about whether she would like to be considered for the permanent position.
As interim coordinator, Roberts will work with students on issues of sexual assault, compile statistics on the number of assaults on campus as required by the Clery Act, conduct training for sexual assault peer advisors and coordinate other outreach and programming.
"Being able to be a voice for students as an advocate or an advisor is a really great opportunity to try to help people on campus," Roberts said. "I've worked at Safety and Security for about 22 years, and I've always been interested in this issue."
Roberts has been involved with the SAAP program, Health Resources and the Center for Women and Gender, for a long time Markowitt said. In her role as a Safety and Security officer, Roberts provided assistance to students who wished to report incidents of sexual assault. Roberts has also helped to run the Rape Aggression Defense program for the past 12 years.
During the four-month gap between Prescott's departure and Roberts' appointment, Megan Fallon, assistant director of the Center for Woman and Gender, has been serving as the primary SAAP contact for individual students in addition to her other duties. Fallon will continue to act in this capacity for those students with whom she has already established a relationship.
"It's always rewarding to work with people who are going through a tough time and knowing you can help them or advocate for them, but it's challenging because I have another job I'm supposed to be doing," Fallon said.
In her capacity as assistant director, Fallon, who has a background in crisis management, has always served as a "backup" to the SAAP coordinator. Markowitt and counselors from Health Services have also been working with individual students, Fallon said.
Training for new Sexual Abuse Peer Advisors was not held during the transition period. Additionally, SAAP did not perform outreach and other programming to the extent that it might have been able to had a coordinator been in place, Mark Reed, director of counseling and health resources at Dick's House, said. Markowitt echoed this sentiment, but said many programs that might have been co-sponsored by SAAP under different circumstances were undertaken by other organizations, including the Men's Project.
Roberts said her goals as interim coordinator are to reach out to underrepresented groups and increase awareness about resources available to help students who have been affected by sexual assault. The short duration of her time as coordinator might make achieving these goals a challenge, she said.
"I think sometimes when people are in crises, they don't know where to turn," Roberts said. "I want students to know that there are people at the College who really do care."
In addition to serving as interim SAAP Coordinator, Roberts will continue to oversee the communications infrastructure at the department of Safety and Security, but will not be in uniform and will not perform her usual supervisory duties at the department. Roberts will likely spend 70 percent of her time fulfilling responsibilities of the SAAP coordinator and 30 percent of her time working with Safety and Security, according to an announcement sent to The Dartmouth by Reed on Jan. 24.
Roberts said she will act as SAAP Coordinator when interacting with students rather than as a Safety and Security officer.
After assuming her new responsibilities, Roberts will travel between the Center for Women and Gender, Health Resources and the Safety and Security offices and will carry a pager to ensure that she can be easily contacted.