Project SPEAK Hosts Title IX Panel for Stalker Awareness Month

Project SPEAK Hosts Title IX Panel for Stalker Awareness Month

UCO's Project SPEAK recently held a panel for Stalker Awareness Month.

Project SPEAK, the campus advocacy program for victims of sexual and physical abuse, hosted a panel to discuss the rights a student has under Title IX through various scenarios. Left to right: Carrie Irwin (Director of Employee Relations – Human Resources), Adrienne Martinez (EEO/Title IX Coordinator), Michelle Stansel (Prevention & Advocacy Coordinator for Project SPEAK), Carly Montgomery (Senior).

UCO’s Project SPEAK hosted a panel discussion in honor of Stalking Awareness month last Wednesday in the Nigh University Center’s Heritage Room. The event was called Title IX and Dine and featured many speakers, including Adrienne Martinez, UCO’s Title IX coordinator; Carrie Irwin, manager of employee relations; Michele Stansel, prevention and advocacy coordinator; and Chris Snoddy, director of student conduct.

Students had the opportunity to learn about all the different services offered by UCO for things like sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and violence. Participants were also asked to read and discuss hypothetical scenarios to give them a clearer definition of consent, boundaries and nonverbal communication.

Brianna Ray, a SPEAK educator, feels that these scenarios play a vital role in the education process. “The scenarios help in that they give a broader understanding of what sexual assault is. We kind of eliminate the gray area.”

The discussion also covered students’ rights under Title IX, which is a law that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex in any federally-funded education program or activity. Title IX guarantees your right to a safe and fair college experience.

“I definitely feel more knowledgeable about Title IX now,” junior Ally Novak said after the event. “I just feel more comfortable knowing that I have all of these options if I ever needed them.”

“We focus a lot on affirmative consent. No still means no, but consent is really yes means yes. I think it’s our responsibility to educate UCO students on that,” said Michele Stansel.

Project SPEAK is a student organization dedicated to preventing sexual assault and domestic violence. Members of the group, called SPEAK educators, receive Title IX training and are certified to support and counsel those in need.

SPEAK stands for: support, promote, educate, advocate and knowledge. The purpose of the events hosted by the organizations are to raise awareness and create an environment that fosters healthy relationships.

Michelle Stansel, head of the group, is excited about the upcoming events Project SPEAK is planning to host the semester. She and the SPEAK educators have been planning some of the upcoming events for months.

“In February we’re doing a workshop called “Bringing in the Bystander,” and an event called “Dating in the USA”, where we partner with the International House.”

The organization also has several events planned for March, which is Broncho Bystander Awareness month, and April which is Sexual Assault Awareness month.

In March, UCO students can participate in events like “Safe Spring Break” and “L is for Lemonade”. They can also attend a showing of the documentary, “The Last Time” which focuses on the struggles faced by advocate and lawyer Tiffany Hill.

 In April, Oklahoma will recognize Honor Denim Day, which is a day where people across the world will stand in solidarity with sexual assault victims by wearing denim. Project SPEAK will be displaying different art created out of denim in the Nigh University Center.

To learn more about Project SPEAK’s upcoming events visit their Facebook page. If you are interested in learning more about Project SPEAK and their services, visit their office in the Nigh University Center, room 406.


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