Cornell will hold its first community gathering to raise awareness of domestic violence, Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in Willard Straight Hall’s Memorial Room. The event is open to the Cornell community and will include guest speakers, resources, stories of survivorship and opportunities to donate to relevant causes.
“It is very important to acknowledge the impact of domestic violence on those in our workplace. There are people on our campus, holding many different positions – at all socio-economic and educational levels; races and ethnicities; gender identities and sexual orientations – who have faced or are facing the effects on domestic violence on themselves and their families,” said Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer. “The Division of Human Resources is working with Cornell Law School professor Elizabeth Brundige – who is also founder and executive director of Cornell’s Global Gender Justice Clinic – to determine how Cornell can support employees and raise awareness that domestic violence occurs everywhere.”
Michelle Artibee, associate director of Work/Life, said that it made sense to initiate campus-wide attention to this ongoing concern through a community gathering on Oct. 19, New York state’s annual “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence Day.” The month of October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Those who stop by the Willard Straight gathering can obtain information about on-campus and local resources, view the nationwide Clothesline Project, drop off used cell phones and prepaid phone cards for the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County to distribute to victims of domestic violence, or donate to the Emergency CARE (Cornellians Aiding and Responding to Employees) Fund. The Emergency CARE Fund offers financial assistance to faculty and staff who have experienced a non-recurring sudden or emergency-related financial hardship, including funding for temporary shelter and supplies for victims of domestic violence.
Immediately following the community gathering, the Cornell Chimesmasters will perform a special concert at McGraw Tower beginning at 1:10 p.m.
Ten awareness and donation drop-off tables will also be set up at locations across campus, most between 10 a.m. through 2 p.m.
Among other recent Work/Life initiatives are training for managers and supervisors to handle domestic violence concerns and compiling a toolkit based on Brundige’s research. Work/Life has trained more than 60 human resource managers how to respond to employees experiencing domestic violence; sessions geared for supervisors are to be scheduled.
“The HR website offers a list of on-and off-campus resources along with a description of how each resource can help,” Artibee said. Domestic violence awareness posters also will be displayed around campus, she added.
In addition to Brundige, a number of university employees have been involved in these initiatives over the past year, including the Cornell University Police Department, Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, Cornell Victim Advocate Program, and several human resources staff responsible for workplace policy and Title IX matters. “I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this effort, as well as Heather Campbell and Kristi Taylor of the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County,” Artibee said.
“It is our hope that those experiencing domestic violence will seek help, when they are ready, from one of the many confidential resources available to them on campus and in the community,” she said.