Weber State to create LGBTQ-centered violence prevention education

Wednesday , January 04, 2017 - 4:08 PM4 comments

ANNA BURLESON, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Weber State University has received nearly $50,000 to develop sexual violence education and prevention curriculum for Utah’s LGBTQ community.

The school was awarded the one-year grant from the Utah Department of Health this fall.

Weber State Women’s Center Director Stephanie McClure said this will build on the school’s existing educational programming, Safe@Weber, which was unveiled the summer of 2015.

“We’re going to work with LGBTQ community members to develop curriculum and provide opportunities for them to be engaged,” she said.

All Weber State students are required to take the Safe@Weber online sexual violence prevention and awareness course, but McClure said it is aimed at the “general population.”

She said while some programs have taken the route of superficially changing their programming to use gender-inclusive pronouns, she wants to develop this program for an LGBTQ audience from the start.

“We’re really trying to be all-encompassing as much as possible,” McClure said.

LGBTQ people are the most likely targets of hate crimes in America, according to a 2016 New York Times analysis of Federal Bureau of Investigation data.

McClure said they often have fewer resources and more barriers that keep them from asking for help, something the curriculum they’re working on will hopefully address.

“This is trying to recenter a curriculum around the lived experiences of this particular community,” she said.

McClure said most of the $49,810 grant will pay salaries of five LGBTQ community members hired to work with stakeholders, host forums and develop the coursework, which will look different depending on what people say they want.

First-year student Porter Lunceford is one of those people. He is working on Safe@Weber Photovoice, a multimedia endeavor to illustrate the feelings of LGBTQ students. Those interested in participating should attend a meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan 11, in Shepherd Union Building room 321. 

Lunceford also helped create a survey to discover which areas of violence prevention education are most needed.

McClure said the survey is open to anyone in Utah age 18 to 25 and, as of the end of December, had about 600 respondents.

“For me, its really about making a difference,” Lunceford said. “I know on this level within the school itself we don’t know for sure how many we’re going to reach and it’s kind of mostly a statewide focus, but for me, making a difference in even a handful of people's lives is really exciting.”

Junior McKenna Delton has done work the the Women’s Center before and was hired to work on the LGBTQ curriculum, doing a variety of tasks including writing, marketing and research.

“I hope we can inform the community and help prevent violence," she said.

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at aburleson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnagatorB or like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/BurlesonReports.

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