Student organization coalition to inform students on interpersonal violence more efficiently

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Photo Credit: Steph Sonik | Daily Texan Staff

Multiple campus organizations have joined together to form a coalition under the Interpersonal Violence Prevention policy, a Student Government agency that provides information and resources about interpersonal violence.

The coalition meets every other Thursday to discuss how to better share their resources, such as counseling and advice, said Mariana Hererria, Interpersonal Violence Prevention policy co-director.

“It’s a place for us to help each other out because a lot of our goals are common,” English sophomore Herreria said.

The group’s next meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Jesse H Jones Building, said co-director Sara Ross.

“It can be really overwhelming to know there’s all these organizations and resources on campus but not know which ones to use or which ones are actually helpful,” said Ross, Plan II and social work junior.

The coalition consists of Voices Against Violence, Not on My Campus, Men Can End, Women’s Resource Agency, It’s on Us, UT Senate, Deeds Not Words and Sure Walk. The coalition previously existed in 2016 but lacked an equal division of labor and commitment, Ross said.

“We have an incredibly passionate team willing to put in the legwork to accomplish what we set out to do this year,” Ross said. “We are putting a major emphasis on collaboration.”

Ross said she wants the coalition to be a place where interpersonal violence prevention organizations can work together and talk about their obstacles and frustrations.

“We are making a space for these student activists to vent and be surrounded by people who understand the struggles they’re facing,” Ross said. “Doing work is exhausting, and most days you feel like every administrative force at this University is working against you.”

The organizations in the coalition all offer slightly different services, Herreria said. Voices Against Violence prevention specialist Sharon Hoefer said the staff collaborates with the student organization of the same name and offers advocacy and counseling services through University Health Services and the Counseling and Mental Health Center.

“They’re (a) sponsored student (organization) … through our department,” Hoefer said. “We are able to work together, the department and the students, to put on events, and I think that’s a really helpful partnership.”

Herreria said the Interpersonal Violence Prevention agency has been working with Adriana Alicea-Rodriguez, the new Title IX coordinator, and planned on introducing her to the other organizations at one of their meetings.

“We could tell she cared about these issues,” Herreria said. “Communication with her has been
so smooth.”

Herreria and Ross also started offering “Title IX Talks” on Mondays in the Union Showroom, where students can ask either of them questions regarding the Title IX office or concerns related to sexual assault.

“We just want to be available to the students to answer any questions that they have, especially because having access to a simplified list of your Title IX rights is impossible,” Herreria said.

Ross said the organizations can educate students more and direct students to the right resources through the coalition.

“We are opening a direct line of communication between (organizations) and emphasizing collaboration among student leaders,” Ross said.