The Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education Center is taking steps to reduce confusion on campus about its services.
In response to recommendations that the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate released last Thursday, University President Richard Levin said he will expand the center to make it a primary resource for students to seek help in addressing incidents of sexual misconduct. The center is working to raise awareness about the center’s services and draw in more students, though findings of the Advisory Committee and interviews with students suggest that the center has much room to expand its presence on campus.
“SHARE provides the single best point of departure, the single unifying source of information, advocacy and action,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller said. “I hope that SHARE’s visibility will grow in the upcoming year so that there will be no questions and no doubt in the minds of students that this is the place to turn to.”
SHARE, located at Yale Health, was founded in 2006 to provide counseling, information and advocacy services for students affected by sexual violence. The center also offers a hotline for mental health counseling and provides follow-up consultations. But the center’s counselors can also assist students in filing formal and informal complaints with the newly formed University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct and refer them to other University resources, such as the Yale Police Department or Title IX coordinators.
Carole Goldberg, director of the center, said the SHARE center launched an updated, “user-friendly” website this fall and has made plans to hire more staffers to better publicize its services.
The Advisory Committee found that students who were aware of the SHARE center were only familiar with its mental health counseling program but not its other services. In line with the committee’s conclusions, all five undergraduates interviewed said that they had only heard of SHARE’s mental health services, while five graduate students said they were not familiar with the center at all.
“I do know there are resources, but often they get buried with other information, and it gets lost,” Emma Schindler ’14 said, adding that her confusion was “ironic” given the frequent discussion on campus about the ongoing investigation into a Title IX complaint, which was filed in March and alleges that the University has a hostile sexual environment.
In addition to updating the center’s website, Goldberg said the center’s name has changed from “Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources & Education Center” to “Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education Center” to draw attention to its active role in combating sexual misconduct. She added that the center also acquired a new phone number that is easier to remember (203-432-2000), and two Yale Police Department officers will act as liaisons between the center and campus police. While Goldberg said the center will soon recruit additional staff to help students who visit, she said she does not know exactly how many new workers will be hired.
In another attempt to broaden the SHARE Center’s influence at the University, Goldberg said it plans to work more closely with leaders of student organizations in Yale College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and professional schools.
“With the emphasis on SHARE … and stronger connections to the registered student organizations and high-profile groups, we are looking forward to more student involvement in prevention and bystander interventions,” she said.
Jessica Sykes ’14 said she knew about SHARE’s plans to expand and believes that its goal should be “to have no student hesitate to call.” Though Todd Holmes GRD ’13 said he had not heard of the SHARE center, he said he hoped that Levin would follow through with the goals he outlined in his seven-page response.
All calls to SHARE are confidential, and students have the option of asking for an anonymous consultation.