People Behind the Policies: Red Zone Initiative

October 3, 2019

People Behind the Policies: Red Zone Initiative

  By Ashley Broadwater, Student Safety and Wellness Member


TW: The following story will discuss themes of sexual assault and gender based violence. Please be advised.

Origins

Serena Singh remembers the kitchen and living room from her childhood vividly. The kitchen, while small, had enough room for all the women of the family to cook together. She remembers the women, who, in traditional Indian wear and long braids, cooked on the stove in the corner. The room smelled of onions, garlic and mango lassi, the latter which is similar to a milkshake. 

The living room had beige walls and couches for the men to sit on as they spoke a mix of English and Hindi. The smell of food and beer was prominent in the air. Kids ran around, playing. 

Something about the scene was strange. It was Singh’s first introduction to the different roles men and women occupied within her culture. More importantly, it was her first introduction to sexism. Singh began to wonder more about what she was seeing as she watched the women cook and the men sit around. 

After doing some research, she learned the sexism she saw was only part of a larger picture of the harm that women face. 

She found that gender-based and sexual violence affect South Asian women at a higher rate. 

That wouldn’t do. 

Today

Now, as a senior advisor in the UNC Exec Branch of Student Government, she continues the work of past senior advisors by working on the Red Zone Initiative to combat violence. 

The Red Zone Initiative is a project that Student Government is doing that has three goals: to teach people about affirmative consent, how to avoid hurting others and how to be an ally. The Red Zone period itself is in between the start of fall semester and Thanksgiving when most campus sexual assaults occur.

To achieve these goals, Student Government created graphics for social media about the definition of affirmative consent, what it means to be an active bystander and how not to perpetrate, showed a viewing of The Hunting Ground documentary, and will host a Town Hall later in October, among much more. Each person working on the Red Zone Initiative has his or her own personal story for why he or she is involved. 

Ruth Samuel, the editor-in-chief at The Bridge, a writing platform for women of color on UNC- Chapel Hill and Duke University’s campuses, emailed Singh about wanting to collaborate something other organizations didn’t usually call on Student Government to do.

Hearing that a group wanted to collaborate with Student Government and at that, a group full of people she looked up to and appreciated thrilled Singh. 

“I could just die now and that would be it,” she said with a laugh, remembering the moment. 

Why this Matters

While Singh primarily focuses on the Red Zone, many people on her team help from their own positions, such as Student Safety and Wellness co-chairs Laci Hill and Brady Creef. 

One day last year, Hill went to classes, did homework and hung out with friends. That night, she walked to Murphey Hall, room 203, for a Student Safety and Wellness meeting. 

The day was typical, boring, even. The meeting was not. 

She remembers how at the meeting, someone asked if sexual assaults actually happened. More than that, what stood out was how the former Student Safety and Wellness co-chair, Melanie Langness, responded. 

Langness shared a story about a friend who experienced sexual assault in college and how her friend struggled so much she had to drop out. 

One day the survivor’s life was fine, and then it wasn’t. 

When Hill heard this story, her heart dropped. She felt broken. She wanted to help other survivors somehow, which she will do soon through the Town Hall with Creef. 

Within the Red Zone work Creef does, he has found hope. 

He remembers looking around at all of the people working on the Red Zone including Singh, Hill, and many others and being overwhelmed by comfort, realizing that many strong, empowering people are working together to end the Red Zone period once and for all.  

He remembers being with friends who shared their sexual assault stories, and how that courage inspired his activism in Student Government.  

He remembers how he’s not alone. Other members in Student Safety and Wellness have a personal tie to the issue. For Logan Swain, it happened to her cousin. . 

It was the week before Halloween. Swain headed to her cousin’s house, thinking she would just eat and talk about her academic struggles.

She didn’t realize that her cousin was about to disclose he had been sexually assaulted a year ago. 

When her cousin shared his story, her face grew red and tears ran down her cheeks. She felt a pit in her stomach and didn’t know what to say, knowing “sorry” wouldn’t help. 

Swain focuses specifically on the Red Zone Initiative. With what her family dealt with in the aftermath of her cousin’s assault, she realized sexual assault can happen to anyone. 

For others in Student Government, their academic passions support survivors. 

While his professor lectured another mundane overview in POLI 100, Malin Curry realized the direction he wanted to go in college. After two years of various classes about politics, the weather, fairytales and other topics, he’d finally picked a major: public relations. 

He called his mother, Tonya, who half-jokingly said she approved because it meant she wouldn’t waste her money anymore. More than that, the thing she wanted to happen for her son happened: he found his passion. 

“You have some really great ideas in mind, and I think you’d be great at it!” she told him. 

That day, he had just finished lunch with his friends. He walked to class in room 33 of Carroll Hall. 

The room felt clinical with white walls. The seating was cramped, though he managed to find a spot with a chair in between those on the other sides of him, like he always aimed for. 

Curry is the secretary for Student Government. Right now, his communication focuses on the Red Zone Initiative. He coordinates meetings with stakeholders and activists. He develops social media content and organization activations.                                   

“It’s all about doing this work correctly. It means involving all the stakeholders who need to be involved,” he said. 

In a world with so much conflict, he feels hopeful. He realizes that the work he’s doing matters.

Looking Forward

 In the midst of midterms and other commitments, the one thing that keeps these students committed to the Red Zone Initiative is passion. It’s about wanting to help others and seeing their efforts come to fruition. 

While the Red Zone period will end, their efforts will not not as long as sexual assault and gender-based violence occur. 

Stay tuned for more updates concerning the Red Zone Initiative via all our social platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and website. For more information and additional resources visit safe.unc.edu and check out the graphics below.


 

Red Zone Initiative Launch

August 20, 2019

The Red Zone Initiative: The What, The Why, The How

By Malin Curry, Undergraduate Secretary


What is It?

The Red Zone. A period of time between the months of August to November, during which sexual assaults on college campuses are statistically more likely to occur, specifically to female identifying first year students. The number of reported assaults on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus grows annually creating a need for a collective force to raise awareness and fight this staggering statistic. 

Enter the Red Zone Initiative. A coalition of student organizations housed within the Undergraduate Exec Branch that is working to do precisely this by hosting various activations, providing students with resources and working to #ReclaimtheRedZone.

This year, organizers of the Initiative have plans to deepen the impact it makes on campus. According to Serena Singh, co-director of the Red Zone Initiative, past iterations of the Initiative have been event focused and have not yielded lasting success.

“We are really focused on connecting with campus organizations that already do things in this realm well,” she said. “It’s less about events and more focused on making a lasting impact even beyond the time the Red Zone occurs.”

The central themes of the Red Zone Initiative are: affirmative consent, what it means to be an active bystander and how not to perpetrate. Singh said these themes drove decisions leadership made while planning.

The goal of the Initiative according to Lucy Russell, a senior studying Public Policy, is to eradicate the Red Zone entirely. She believes this can be accomplished by emphasizing this year’s themes. Themes that students can expect to see represented in all future activations concerning the Red Zone Initiative.

“UNC should be free of all gender-based violence, so we are utilizing the Red Zone period to raise awareness about affirmative consent and how to take care of each other,” she said.

Arts and Activism

Leadership enlisted the help of Arts Everywhere, an initiative that seeks to make art a part of the daily culture and life of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Together, they will be releasing a joint arts and activism exhibit in October to highlight Red Zone efforts in a creative way.

“The arts is such an interesting medium for this project, as it aids in advocacy efforts as well as provides a space for healing for survivors,” said Gayathri Raghavendra, Arts Everywhere Student Lead. “In the next few months, you’ll see some public art relating to the Red Zone.”

Like Singh, Raghavendra wants to ensure the impact she makes is long lasting. She plans to make the exhibit available on digital platforms shortly after its release, allowing students to access it for years to come.

“Every single student has been a bystander at some point in their college career and to ignore this glaring problem within our own campus community would be not only irresponsible, but abhorrent. In addition, it is incredibly important to support survivors and be as supportive of a community as possible to help aid in any way,” she said. 

Other Activations

Leadership is also working to plan a Town Hall on sexual assault, bring in activists to lead bystander and survivor’s healing art workshops, developing merchandise set to be released later and working on a social campaign to continue spreading the word.

According to Singh, these new additions are important to the longevity of the Red Zone Initiative, as the Red Zone is something that should remain relevant even after November. She, along with Kelley Traynham, co-director of the Red Zone Initiative, are working to ensure that this year’s activations engage students.

“Sexual assault has been an issue impacting our campus which is why the Red Zone Initiative is crucial,” said Traynham. “Our leadership team is made up of almost entirely women, and it’s so empowering to be able to work on something like this that specifically impacts women and see some tangible change. It is my desire  that through student government we’ll be able to keep this Initiative moving forward to show that this year’s administration will always fight for justice and improving the life of others.” 

Stay tuned for more updates concerning the Red Zone Initiative via all our social platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and website. For more information and additional resources visit safe.unc.edu and check out the graphics below. 


Mental Health Resources

December 6, 2018

UNC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

http://campushealth.unc.edu/caps

Counseling and Psychological Services provides therapy, psychiatry, referrals and academic intervention services for UNC-Chapel Hill students and postdoctoral fellows.

Initial walk-ins are free and available: Monday – Thursday from 9am-12pm and 1-4pm, and Friday from 9:30am-12pm and 1-4pm

Student Wellness

https://studentwellness.unc.edu

Student Wellness promotes the eight dimensions of wellness for UNC-Chapel Hill students and postdoctoral fellows. They offer Self Care Programs, Alcohol and Drug Programs, Relationship Wellness Programs, and other coaching, group, and individual programs.

The Department of Psychology Community Clinic   

http://clinic.unc.edu

The Clinic is a community-based training facility for the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality training for our graduate students as they learn evidence-based psychological treatments. A related mission of the Community Clinic is the promotion and support of clinical research and the sharing of knowledge with the surrounding community through consultative services, presentations, and workshops.

UNC Office of the Dean of Students

https://odos.unc.edu

Provides support and assistance to students as they navigate their academic and personal experience at UNC-Chapel Hill. ODOS advocates for students experiencing extenuating circumstances, including, but not limited to those connected to mental health struggles. Furthermore, ODOS reviews requests under the Class Absence Policy granting approved absence for qualifying circumstances.

UNC Accessibility Resource & Services            

http://accessibility.unc.edu/students

Creates official academic accommodations for students who need them, from allowing additional time on exams for students to assigning a follow classmate to be responsible for showing up to class and taking notes in the case of excessive absences for students.

UNC Academic Advising

http://advising.unc.edu

Advises students on the best course of academic action, and guides students through actions like course withdrawal or university withdrawal should a student need to take either of those steps.

Online Therapy

https://www.consumersadvocate.org/online-therapy

A list of vetted online therapists with recommendations and research concerning the best practices out there.

UNC Office of Undergraduate Retention

https://studentsuccess.unc.edu/

Helps get students on academic probation back on track, but is available for any student to seek out assistance and support. Many students struggle within the classroom not because they are academically incapable, but because of extenuating circumstances like mental health struggles.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

(24 hours): 1-800-273-8255

Let’s Talk: Carolina on the Move

December 3, 2018

Let's Talk: Carolina on the Move

In light of all the unrest here on campus, we decided to interview student activists and ask about their experience organizing and participating in student-led demonstrations.

Posted by UNC Student Government Executive Branch on Monday, December 3, 2018

MEMORANDUM

November 8, 2018

TO: Chancellor Folt and UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees

FROM: Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor

DATE: October 31, 2018

SUBJECT: Confederate Monument Collaborative Process Student Feedback


Introduction & Purpose:

On August 28th, 2018, the N.C. Board of Governors charged Chancellor Folt and the University’s Board of Trustees with creating a plan for the Confederate Monument’s disposition and preservation. In response to said charge, Chancellor Folt commissioned the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor (SACC) to gather student opinion on the statue and its future, focusing on the obstacles, principles, and ideas as they pertain to the monument. The following information is a synthesis of the approximately 500 responses that were procured from 10/2-10/29.

 

Obstacles:

Summary Statement: Overwhelmingly, students viewed differing opinions on the statue and laws and policies as the largest obstacles to the future of the Confederate Monument.

Differing Opinions

  • Students differentiated between their own viewpoints and those of other stakeholders, including: University officials, state legislators, and the majority of the adult population in North Carolina. Additionally, students felt that the administration cared more for the opinions of donors and legislators than of their students
  • Student have observed a divergence of opinions on the matter, including differing historical perspectives, and see these disagreements as inhibiting the process of finding a solution

Laws and Policies

  • Students voiced that the logistical hurdles, stemming from state laws and the glacial pace of University actions, inhibited the effectiveness of student activism in regards to the removal of the Confederate Monument
  • Students also noted the University’s unwillingness to take a public stand for or against the argument or engage with the issue at all

 

Principles:

Summary Statement: Students widely prioritized the values of student and community input and the preservation of history.

Student and Community Input

  • Many students expressed the desire to prioritize the student body’s opinions over other stakeholders while still considering the opinions of community members, NC residents, and the administration
  • An emphasis was placed on engaging with the feelings of marginalized students and those whose ancestors were honored with the monument’s original intention

Preservation of History

  • Students value an honest acknowledgment of the past, including proper recognition of the place our University has had in the South’s disturbed history

Other Key Values

  • A significant number of students also valued the safety of a solution, as defined by how it impacts the frequency and intensity of protests on campus. Many also mentioned the need to compromise as much as feasibly possible

 

Ideas:

Summary Statement: Ideas regarding the future of the Confederate Monument can be categorized into three overarching themes: relocating, replacing, and repurposing1:

Relocation (Approximately 50% of Respondents)

  • Students similarly expressed interest in the statue being relocated with a majority recommending that this relocation be to an off-campus destination, suggesting a variety of museums and battlefields
  • Of those proposing relocation, a minority of students thought the statue should be placed on another part of campus but did suggest Wilson Library, CarolinaHall, and the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery as viable options

Repurpose (Approximately 20% of Respondents)

  • Students want the meaning and conversation around the statue to be changed through intensive contextualization efforts that show the statues storied past, up to the point of its forced removal
  • Specific ideas towards this general sentiment include: rededicating the statue with a new intention, creating a new plaque for the base which indicates the University’s progression, and adding other elements to the statue or the surrounding area that change the meaning of the monument

Replacement (Approximately 15% of Respondents)

  • Several students voiced the opinion that the Confederate Monument should be removed and replaced by a different figure of particular note to the University with suggestions ranging from Dean Smith to the first three African American students admitted to UNC

 

Conclusion:

It is the conclusion of this report that the effort to solicit student feedback was inadequate due to limited time, resources, and manpower. In order to fully capture student sentiment, more efforts need to be undertaken, including reaching more groups and focusing more so on solution-driven conversations. While SACC has labored daily to meet its charge from Chancellor Folt, we still encourage the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees to intentionally seek more student input by dedicating additional time and resources to holistic data collection.


1 The remaining 15% of student feedback expressed miscellaneous comments that are not encapsulated by the three overarching themes of ideas. Many of these comments were a reiteration of principles rather than new ideas, thereby explaining that they do not fit into the three overarching themes.

 

PROCEDURAL ADDENDUM

This addendum is in addition to the original report. The following contains a description of the collaborative process utilized for facilitation, identifies the data collection methods implemented, recognizes the student groups and organizations that participated, and a synthesis of the responses.

 

Collaborative Process
The Collaborative Process, a design developed by Robert Reinheimer, Ph.D., encourages respondents to look at the Goals, Obstacles, Principles, Ideas, and Solutions when faced with a particular problem. At the urging of the Chancellor and Board of Trustees, we integrated this approach in our pursuit of procuring student feedback on the future of the Confederate Monument.

The breakdown of the feedback solicited by these components is as follows:

1)   Goal: “What is the core problem we are here to talkabout?”

2)   Obstacles:“What are the obstacles that stand between us and our goal? Tangible and intangible?”

3)    Principles:“How can we judge the effectiveness of our solution once it is proposed? What criteria or principles can we agree on?”

4)    Ideas: “What might we do? Document a wide range of possibilities. Ensure exhaustion.”

5)    Solution:“What shall we propose? What ideas do we keep? How do we combine them? What is effective? What is acceptable? How can we move towards a smooth and successful execution?”

Through our efforts, we identified the goal and then walked students through analyzing obstacles, principles, and ideas — all information we are hoping the Chancellor and Board of Trustees will be able to integrate into their proposed “solution” as requested by the Board of Governors.

 

Methods
To collect student feedback, the committee held forums for students to attend. The committee planned forums by reaching out to 50+ student organizations and groups on campus, as well as hosting general student body forums. The response collecting software called Mentimeter was used to record the data in the forums. After the question was presented, the students submitted their obstacles, principles, or ideas, then discussed them cordially in the group to further develop their thoughts. Students were encouraged to submit any new ideas they developed on the survey.

The survey was developed using a software called Qualtrics. Within the survey, each step of the collaborative process was fully defined in the questions to ensure respondents understood the implications of the survey. It was deployed by email to student organizations, through the committee’s social media platforms, and passed out in the form of a QR code to students on campus. It was ensured that only UNC-Chapel Hill students could participate by requiring their student PID.

 

Student Feedback Groups
More than fifty student organizations were reached out to by email, as well as every single residence hall. Many students responded via survey; however, there were several forums within resident halls and through organizations. SACC additionally hosted general student body forums for any student to attend.

 

Synthesis of Data
There were approximately 250 respondents from the Mentimeter data collected at forums, as well as approximately 200 Qualtrics survey respondents. There was a wide range of responses from diverse organizations, students, and perspectives.

 

Disclaimer
All data collected was compiled together and does not represent any one organization’s opinion, nor does it implicate the ideas of the University or the University administration as a whole; it strictly represents the opinions of the students that chose to add their voice to the conversation.

Vice-Chancellor Crisp Retirement Statement

October 18, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Torin Edwards, Undergraduate Secretary

October 18, 2018

 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Vice-Chancellor Crisp has spent the last 30 years making this university a better place and a true home for every student. His passion for the Carolina community runs deep, and this is exhibited in the many ways he has improved the Carolina experience for thousands of students. Though we may never be able to fully know just how much he has done for this campus university, today we will celebrate his many years of service and leadership.

The Carolina community knows Vice-Chancellor Crisp for his commitment to its students. He has invested in countless lives, including generations of Student Government members. He has always lent an open door and an open hand to our leaders, offering them his wisdom and support throughout their college journeys. Over his decades of service, Vice-Chancellor Crisp has been a champion and advocate for numerous Student Governments. In difficult times, he challenged us to be the leaders we aspired to be, and in better times he has celebrated our accomplishments with us.

When people talk of a love for this place, they usually aren’t referring to the buildings or the landscapes. What truly makes this place special is the people, and Vice-Chancellor Crisp is one such person. Carolina is revered by students and alumni as a place where true community is fostered — where we build and grow together in our priceless time as students. But this community wouldn’t exist without people like Vice-Chancellor Crisp helping us make the most of our time and resources here at Carolina. When we’ve faced adversity, he has challenged us to be the leaders we aspired to be. When our voices have gone unheard, he was our advocate. When we lacked confidence in our own capacity for change, he pushed us to believe in ourselves and the future we could create.

 Words will never do justice to describe our love and appreciation for Vice-Chancellor Crisp. His retirement is a great loss to the Carolina community, and we will be hard pressed to find another to fill the hole he leaves in the fabric of campus life. While he may soon be leaving us, his impact and legacy at Carolina will live on through the countless students he has impacted and helped shape. We will forever be grateful for his work, his inspiration, and his leadership. We hope to, one day, make him as proud of our work as we are of his.

 

Hark The Sound,

 

Office of the Undergraduate Executive Branch

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

 

Ali Farahnakian Joins Branch for General Body Meeting

March 6, 2018

The Adkins Administration welcomed Ali Farahnakian, former SNL writer and recent Chapel Hill business venturist, to their General Body Meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Farahnakian is opening the Peoples Improv Theater on Franklin Street in the coming weeks.

Ali led the group in multiple improv workshops, to include a “zip, zap, zop” and “pet peeves.” “Zip, zap, zop” encouraged both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as confidence and friendly competition. “Pet peeves” incorporated members of the Branch being assigned a “pet peeve” and then ranting about it when given the chance onstage next to 5 of their peers. Ali directed the 6 students as if they were a symphony: muting them and unmuting them as the orchestra went along.

Ali’s experience in these workshops made him a perfect candidate for the goal of the Branch’s General Body Meetings: to provide information and professional development to members of the Branch.

The meeting ended with Ali’s advice to the Branch during a Q&A.

Thanks to Ali for joining the Adkins Administration!

2018 African University Leadership Exchange Program Details Announced

March 1, 2018

The Special Projects sub-committee of the Undergraduate Executive Branch is excited to announce the second annual African University Leadership Exchange Program which will take place at UNC from April 6th through 15th.

What is the African University Leadership Exchange Program?

Last year, we brought 8 students from 5 different African countries to a leadership summit on student governance here at UNC. Read about it here on the DTH, or check out our website. It was an incredible week of exchange of ideas, cultural comparisons, and learning from one another — and this year, we’re doing it again!

That sounds amazing! How can I get involved?

As you might guess, it takes a lot of dedicated people to make this awesome program work. Our application to volunteer is due Friday, March 9th. We have three main ways for you to get plugged in:

  1. Be a HOST: Have a guest bedroom, extra futon, or a pullout couch you are willing to share? A visiting student would love to stay with you! They would only need the space at night as they will have programming throughout the day. You will need to provide ample space and be a responsible host (i.e. no going out every night, making sure they can communicate with you to get in and out etc.)! Students living on and off campus are eligible to host.
  2. Be a BUDDY: You will be paired with a visiting student and serve as a resource for them by letting them come to a class, spending some free time with you, swiping them in or sharing a meal, and being a source of contact during the day. This can be based off of your availability, but your main role is to give the student a glimpse of what it looks like to be a student at UNC, while learning more about their life in Africa!
  3. Be a BEHIND-THE-SCENES VOLUNTEER: Can’t host or be a buddy but still want to help? Shoot us an email! We still need help reaching out to donors, coordinating schedules for activities, and driving students to and from the airport.

In order to be considered as a buddy or a host, you must apply by Friday, March 9th at 11:59pm. You can access the application here. Note that you must attend a mandatory orientation session on either Wednesday, March 21st from 7:15-8pm or Thursday, March 22nd 5-6pm.

If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Special Projects Co-Chairs Jessie Keener or Madison Ramsey

Apply to Serve on the Executive Branch Officer Team for 2018-2019

February 14, 2018

Applications for the 2018-2019 Executive Branch Officer Team (EBO) are now available at heellife.unc.edu. The direct link to the application can be found here. The application is open to fees-paying UNC undergraduate students that will be enrolled full time for the entire 2018-2019 academic year. EBO members will serve a one year team beginning April 3, 2018 under the Putnam Administration. The platform for the Putnam Administration can be found here.

The following positions serve on the Executive Branch Officer Team (EBO):

  1. USG President
  2. USG Vice-President
  3. USG Treasurer
  4. USG Secretary
  5. USG Chief of Staff
  6. USG Senior Advisor(s)
  7. USG Director of State & External Affairs

Descriptions, role overviews and role requirements can be found in the Student Code here.

The application, interview and selection process is as follows:

  • February 14 at 8 pm: Application is made available
  • February 21 at 8 pm: Application closes
  • February 25: Interviews begin
  • March 2: Interviews conclude
  • March 5: Applicants are notified
  • March 6: Final nominees attend Committees of the Undergraduate Senate
  • March 20: Final nominees attend Full Meeting of the Undergraduate Senate

All questions regarding the application process for the 2018-2019 Executive Branch Officer Team can be directed to Sarah Leck, the outgoing Chief of Staff, at sleck@live.unc.edu.

 

*Interviews have the potential to be recording (with audio and/or video). This will be confirmed in the interview confirmation process and discussed on a case-by-case basis.