VP Biden headed to UNH for address

Tickets already sold out for Biden’s talk

By Brandon Lawrence
On April 1, 2011

On Monday, April 4, United States Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will give an address in the Granite State Room on the issue of sexual violence and assault on campuses and in schools at 11:30 a.m.

Biden, who sponsored the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, will be traveling the nation from campus to campus speaking out against sexual violence against women. Biden's hope is to help colleges and universities understand their civil rights obligations to better prevent and respond to sexual assault.

The address is RSVP only, and those without tickets will not be admitted.

Erika Mantz, director of Media Relations at UNH, said that last fall three UNH faculty members who research violence against women and develop effective programs to address it on college campuses were invited to the White House to display their work, as well as attend a reception at Vice President Biden's home in order to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the passage of the VAWA.

"UNH has long been regarded as a leader in addressing violence against women on campus, and university officials were pleased to learn Vice President Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit the Durham campus to introduce new guidance to help schools, colleges and universities," Mantz said in an email.

UNH has several nationally-recognized programs, like its Bringing in the Bystander program, which is made up of two components: A Prevention Workshop for Establishing a Community of Responsibility in-person program, and the Know-Your-Power social marketing campaign.

In 1988, UNH introduced and began funding the Sexual Harassment And Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), one of the country's first on-campus crisis centers to "provide comprehensive confidential direct services and prevention programming to UNH students, faculty and staff," Mantz wrote.

Mary Mayhew, the program director at SHARPP, said that the program has helped more than 112 people in the community this year to date, but that SHARPP offers confidentiality to anyone that comes in.

"When a student comes to us with a concern about one or more of these issues, every interaction, with very few exceptions, are completely confidential, meaning that we can only disclose them with the survivor's written permission," Mayhew said. "That means that we are a completely safe place for someone to disclose what happened, ask questions and learn options without fear of others finding out."

SHARPP works hard to be on the forefront of education and advocacy in the prevention of sexual violence, according to Mayhew. The program is also incorporating educational materials through new and traditional media and social networking.

Mantz said that the new UNH School of Law, in conjunction with partners at UNH, will hold a national conference in October on recent innovations and research addressing domestic violence.

Tickets to see the vice president were gone around 3 p.m. yesterday, which shows Mayhew that the campus and community is serious about preventing sexual violence.

"We're excited and honored to have Vice President Biden come to UNH to speak about these issues," she said. "His record on advocating for ending violence against women is outstanding, and I'm extremely happy that he's bringing the focus on violence against women to higher education."

Doors for the event open at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. The vice president will take the stage to speak from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.   

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