Cal Poly Safer Program Commemorates 25th Anniversary in April
Confidential support program to host noted author April 11 and present annual Take Back the Night event April 28
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Safer program, the university’s primary confidential support, education and advocacy resource for sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual exploitation and harassment, is commemorating its 25th anniversary this month. The program is also recognizing Sexual Assault Action Month, which is in April.
Safer's Sexual Assault Action Month, themed Rooted in Community, will focus on community healing and activation. The month will feature a conversation with Tarana Burke, activist, author and founder of the #MeToo movement, at 5 p.m. Monday, April 11. Safer will cap Sexual Assault Action Month by hosting Take Back the Night on Thursday, April 28. The annual event will feature live music, food, art, a candlelight vigil and a solidarity march. Admission is free to both events.
“To truly shift our culture to one that centers on healing and justice, we need everyone involved,” said Jennifer MacMartin, prevention specialist for Safer. “Community building, in and of itself, prevents violence by helping people feel connected to one another and creating a sense of belonging. These last two years especially, we have seen an immense need for community connectedness, and we’re looking forward to cultivating that environment throughout April’s events.”
Safer Director Kara Samaniego, who also serves as Cal Poly’s assistant director of Wellbeing, noted that incidents of sexual violence remain a prevalent issue on college campuses across the country.
“Safer’s mission, at its core, has been to offer holistic support resources, services and prevention education to the campus community, while simultaneously envisioning a future where violence isn’t occurring,” Samaniego said.
“We have come a long way since starting the program, mostly because of fierce and dedicated survivors and allies to our program, and we still have a long way to go. I could not be prouder of the incredible legacy of people who have dedicated their time to our program and the partnerships we have established both on and off campus that have allowed us to impact tens of thousands of lives at Cal Poly.”
Keith Humphrey, vice president for student affairs, added, “I’m grateful that our Safer advocates always support survivors with tremendous grace and compassion. They are passionate about this important work, and I am proud of their continued commitment to make our community a safer and more just place for all.”
The program, formerly called Sexual Assault-Free Environment Resource, or S.A.F.E.R, was founded in 1996 following the highly publicized disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. Safer began as part of Peer Health Education, then moved to the Women’s Center (now Gender Equity Center) before joining the Office of the Dean of Students as a standalone program in 2011. In 2018, the program shifted again to its current home in Campus Health and Wellbeing, where its prevention education and advocacy and survivor wellness programs have grown to be the largest in the California State University system.
“The addition of the Safer team to Campus Health and Wellbeing further underscores the value in providing trauma-informed support to the campus community,” said Tina Hadaway-Mellis, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, Health and Wellbeing. “I am grateful for our team's commitment to shining a light on the critical conversations around these topics.”
Within Cal Poly's Campus Health and Wellbeing department, Safer serves as Cal Poly’s confidential advocacy, education and support resource for sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. The program is a resource for all students, faculty and staff, and aims to create an inclusive space for all that are affected by gender-based violence, regardless of race, color, religious or spiritual beliefs, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status or documentation status. For more information, visit safer.calpoly.edu.
April 5, 2022
Contact: Diego Abeloos