Campus: Fresno State -- February 15, 2006
$200,000 Grant Allows Fresno State To Focus On Violence
A federal grant of nearly $200,000 will allow California State University,
Fresno to work with community partners to elevate awareness of violence against
women and develop a prevention and intervention program for the university.
Fresno State was among 31 schools nationwide that received grants this year from
the U.S. Department of Justice Programs, Office of Violence Against Women -
Campus Program. The two-year grant to Fresno State totals $199,796.
Dr. Bernadette Muscat, an assistant criminology professor, and Francine Oputa,
coordinator of the Women's Resource Center at Fresno State, sought the grant to
target three areas that are prevalent in college-age women: domestic violence,
sexual assault and stalking.
"Violence against women is a highly underreported crime on university campuses
nationwide," said Muscat, who has 14 years of experience in victimology work
and is coordinator of the Victimology Program in the Department of Criminology.
"We need to create a campus climate where victims and friends of victims are
knowledgeable of and comfortable with the idea of seeking assistance."
Muscat said the program will elevate the trust victims have in campus authorities,
police and community agencies. The Marjaree Mason Center and Rape Counseling
Service are among the many community agencies that signed an agreement to work
with the program.
The funds will be used to hire staff to a program to address violence against
women and to work collaboratively to coordinate existing services and programs
for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, including
prevention, intervention and education.
Also as part of the grant, University Police officers will be trained to respond
effectively to domestic violence, sexual assault (child and adult), and stalking
cases and to work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students at
Micaela Vargas has been hired as project coordinator. Vargas earned a bachelor's
degree in social work from Fresno State and previously worked as a case manager
supervisor with Fresno County Economic Commission Sanctuary Youth Shelter, which
serves at-risk youth.
She has experience and training in the areas of domestic violence, divorce,
child abuse, prostitution, suicide, sexual assault, student advocacy, sexually
transmitted disease, family mediation and reunification, defusing hostility and
violence, multiproblem family needs, cross-cultural awareness and teen pregnancy.
Assisting Vargas is Sue Rudd, who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a
master's degree in counseling from Fresno State. She previously worked at Central
California Pride Network, providing counseling for victims of domestic violence
and sexual assault primarily for the gay, lesbian, and transgender populations.
She also has experience in the research of schizophrenia at the VA Medical
Center in Fresno.
For more information on the Women's Resource Center, please go to the following
Web site »
Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster, (559) 278-5292