College forms task force on Sexual Assault Prevention

BERLIN —

White Mountains Community College has formed a task force, #ItsOnUsWMCC, comprised of students, faculty, staff and representatives of WMCC’s three local domestic and sexual violence crisis centers. “It’s On Us” is a national campaign launched in 2014 by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The task force’s mission is “to provide leadership in preventing and responding to sexual assault through collaboration, sharing and creating resources. Our aim is to reduce the risk of and increase the prevention of sexual assault, as well as to raise awareness of community resources, including on-campus support and local crisis centers.”

The task force will focus its efforts by working closely with the crisis centers for education and training of students, faculty and staff, along with utilizing on-campus postings, events and social media outreach. On Feb. 14 White Mountains Community College administration formalized its relationship with the three crisis centers — RESPONSE to Sexual and Domestic Violence through the Coos County Family Health Services; the Support Center at Burch House through the Tri-County Community Action Program in Grafton County; and Starting Point: Services for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence of Carroll County — by signing Memoranda of Understanding with each of the agencies.

This formalizes the commitment of the parties to work together to provide trauma-informed services to student and employee victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. White Mountains Community College President Dr. Charles Lloyd remarked that he is thrilled with the response from faculty, staff and students to the college’s efforts to address sexual and domestic violence. “Recent presentations to faculty and staff about WMCC’s resources and community partners, as well as the obligations of all WMCC staff and faculty in response to sexual misconduct, were well-received,” Lloyd said. “It is important that we all work together to understand our roles and how we can best support all WMCC community members.

We are excited about the #ItsOnUsWMCC Campaign and our partnerships with the crisis centers.” The members of the task force — Melanie Robbins, Jeff Swayze, Rachel Dandeneau, Melissa Laplante, Lynne Grigelevich, Deborah Haynes, Nikki Donahue, Nicolle Slattery, Megan Fellows, Renee Bernier, Rachel Dandeneau, Joan Merrill and Danielle Achilles — have worked closely with Mary Lauby and Rebecca Ludecke of the Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Prevention Innovations Research Center is internationally recognized for its collaborative research and community engagement focusing on sexual and relationship violence and stalking prevention and response.

Printed in the Berlin Daily Sun