Megan Johnson, the former title IX coordinator, has taken on the new role as program coordinator of advocacy services and wellness education
Last semester former campus victim advocate Stephanie Spitz left Pittsburg State University, leaving an open position on campus, causing some to wonder what this meant for the future of the position.
“On the advocacy services piece, I’m the first contact that students can come to access and navigate the various resources that we have available for survivors,” Johnson said. “That includes contacting victim advocate that is provided through a safe house center, walking a student through the process of filing a Title IX complaint, medical or counseling services if that is needed, as well as contacting police and filing reports that is applicable as well.”
As well as being the first contact for students, Johnson has other responsibilities and goals.
“I also advise Students for Violence Prevention (SVP) and education programming for sexual assault prevention on campus, as well as on-campus education,” Johnson said. “Tackling other aspects of wellbeing, physical and mental health primarily, and providing education and programming regarding wellness education. I am really excited to reinvigorate a new health organization. In the past we had gorilla peer health, those were about promoting health on campus. And since then, it has died out. So, a goal of mine is to reestablish or start something new that has those goals.”
Although there is no longer a campus victim advocate on campus, there are still campus victim advocates available for students through the Safe House Crisis Center.
“So, I’m providing the advocacy services to help students connect with,” Johnson said. “And I will be the first connection, like if a victim comes in and needs someone to sit and wait while the victim advocate drives from across town. But the Safe House Crisis Center provides advocacy services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have multiple advocates and so it is a robust resource that provides text-based services, as well as call-in services 24 hours a day. And those victim advocates will sit with students as they are getting a SANE exam or filing a police report, or just being an ear for someone to listen. To me, the idea of, do we have a victim advocate on campus, a victim advocate will be here as soon as one is needed. They are responsive, they have multiple people to fill that role, and my position is to make sure that someone isn’t just sitting around waiting not knowing what to do. There is still someone on campus to help you navigate that system, but I am not trained as a victim advocate to be that type of ear.”
Starting on Sept. 1, there will be a support group meeting biweekly at the Bryant Student Center.
“The survivor support peer group is going to be facilitated by one of the victims’ advocates at the Safe House,” Johnson said. “It will meet every other week and provide an opportunity for students to talk about their experiences, relate to one another, and have a professional in the room to navigate those feelings they may be experiencing.
Johnson’s advocacy services are available to any student who may want access to resources.