Woman wearing "Take Back the Night" t-shirt speaks into a microphone at the center of a group.

Graduating UMBC student advocates keep building community in an unprecedented time

For Nadia BenAissa and Sam Hertl, UMBC has been a place to grow as leaders and advocates. Their college experiences have been defined by their work to educate, speak out, and create resources for survivors of sexual assault and LGBTQIA+ students at UMBC. As the university community has responded to COVID-19 and transitioned to a virtual environment, they have held steadfast in their commitments.

Retriever Courage one year later: UMBC community listens, learns, and acts

One year ago, the UMBC community spoke out about experiences, urgent concerns, and hopes for change related to sexual and gender-based harassment and violence. This September 18, student, faculty, staff, and administrative leaders of the Retriever Courage initiative hosted an open gathering to update the campus on early progress and next steps toward fostering a campus climate in which all feel a sense of belonging, safety, and support.

A woman speaks at a microphone in front of a group of seated students. Behind her is a backdrop of t-shirts in different colors and a sign that reads "Take Back the Night."

Retriever Courage partners take stock of community work to prevent and respond to sexual assault

Six months into the Retriever Courage initiative, this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month programming at UMBC is especially meaningful for the University community. “Our efforts to support survivors and cultivate a survivor-responsive campus need to be a 365-days-a-year undertaking,” says Jess Myers, director of UMBC’s Women’s Center. “We all are responsible for this work.”

Flyer reads "Retriever Courage: Speak. Listen. Learn. Act." and includes a mission statement.

UMBC community leaders launch Retriever Courage, a sexual assault prevention and response initiative

UMBC community leaders have announced the Retriever Courage initiative—the next phase in UMBC’s work to prevent and respond to sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct. The initiative emphasizes, “Change requires the courage to speak out, to listen, to learn, and to take action. We must fully live our campus values—inclusive excellence, collaboration, innovation, and impact—to make UMBC a safer, more caring living, learning, and working environment for all.”

UMBC outlines next steps in work to improve sexual assault prevention and response

“It’s time,” says Professor Chris Murphy, “for all of us to listen to survivors, engage in serious and deep self-reflection as a campus, and to work together to invest the time and resources needed to provide everyone with a safe and productive educational experience at UMBC.”

UMBC community gathers for listening session on sexual misconduct and campus safety

Hundreds of UMBC community members gathered on Thursday, September 20, for an open listening session on sexual misconduct, in a painful and powerful moment for the university. A large crowd rapidly filled the Fine Arts Recital Hall and then two overflow spaces in the biology building and library, connected through a live video feed. As everyone took their seats, ready to begin, a sense of quiet tension filled the space—a community taking a breath, ready to speak and to listen.

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