Fueled by a $1.5 million gift from the Chris and Carrie Shumway Foundation, the University of Arizona is launching the Consortium on Gender-Based Violence, which will support comprehensive services, multidimensional programming and research-informed practice.
By identifying and disseminating best practices, the consortium aims to be a national model for understanding and combating gender-based violence, improving support for survivors and eliminating cultural attitudes that re-create cycles of violence.
Gender-based violence is defined as harm inflicted on a person because of their gender. Persons of any gender can be victims of violence, though globally women and girls are far more likely to be harmed by men.
The Shumways were early advocates for and cornerstone investors in the consortium, making their first gift of $500,000 in December 2017. They have since committed an additional $1 million to fund campuswide gender-based violence initiatives and to allow the consortium to further its work.
With a new director at its helm, the consortium will introduce a grant program to incubate innovative solutions and support the new Survivor Advocacy Program offered by the Dean of Students Office. Housed in the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, with UA Student Affairs and Enrollment Management as a key partner, the consortium also will expand its resources as a university "hub" for research and services related to gender-based violence.
Carrie Shumway, who graduated from the UA with a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1993, sits on the boards of several foundations and is a former board member of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which provides services for victims of sexual assault. Her husband, Chris Shumway, is the managing partner of Shumway Capital, a private investment firm.
"Our foundation believes in the importance of eradicating gender-based violence and is pleased to support this transformative initiative at the University of Arizona," Carrie Shumway said. "We are looking forward to the university creating a model that can be replicated on college campuses nationwide."
"When I meet parents and family members of first-year students on move-in day, I tell them how excited we are to have their student here and I promise that we are going to take care of them. The UA becomes our students' home, and we cannot do our primary job educating them, allowing them to develop their minds and characters, and helping them to explore their interests and new relationships if we do not create a safe environment," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "Violence of any kind, including violence based on a person's gender, has no place on a university campus, and we are all grateful for this generous gift from Carrie and Chris Shumway. The Shumways are giving us the opportunity to fulfill their vision of the UA as a national model for addressing and hopefully eliminating gender-based violence."
Monica J. Casper, professor and associate dean for faculty affairs and inclusion in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Melissa Vito, former senior vice president for student affairs, enrollment management and strategic initiatives for the UA, co-founded the consortium, with initial conversations commencing a few years ago.
Elise Lopez is the new director of the consortium. Lopez received her doctorate in public health from the UA and previously served as the assistant director of the Relationship Violence Program in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
Lopez is an internationally recognized violence scholar, and her work has received national awards. Her recent community-connected work has included overseeing a national initiative to train liquor servers to recognize and safely respond to sexual aggression.
Propelled by public discourse and policy attention, Lopez has focused on campus sexual assault in recent years. She sees the consortium as a mechanism to keep that momentum going.
"We really have an unprecedented opportunity to spark innovation and establish a comprehensive research-to-practice model at the UA for preventing and responding to violence," Lopez said.
A version of this article originally appeared on the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences website: https://sbs.arizona.edu/news/15m-gift-ua-launches-consortium-gender-based-violence