The Collegian
Monday, October 26, 2020

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Sexual misconduct education and prevention coordinator leaves UR

<p>Sarah Brunet Hall currently houses the Center for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.&nbsp;</p>

Sarah Brunet Hall currently houses the Center for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. 

Britnie Hopkins, former sexual misconduct education and prevention coordinator, left the University of Richmond this semester for another employment opportunity. 

According to Hopkins' LinkedIn profile, she is now the Title IX investigation and training specialist at Sonoma State University. 

Hopkins’ role was created in 2017 after two students said the university had mishandled their Title IX cases in accounts posted on the Huffington Post’s contributor network on Sept. 6 and Sept. 9, 2016. 

The President’s Advisory Committee for sexual violence prevention and response appointed Hopkins to replace Beth Curry, the former coordinator for sexual misconduct and advocacy. Curry had left before her tenure was up because the two-year grant funding her role was set to expire in 2016, Mia Reinoso Genoni, dean of Westhampton College, said.

Hopkins’ position, comparatively, was fully funded by the university. According to an interview with The Collegian in December 2017, her self-described main role was to implement all of UR’s prevention and education strategies. 

Hopkins played a crucial role in the Center for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, which consists of an advocate space and Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as the Peer Sexual Misconduct Advisers. The center is located in Sarah Brunet Hall.

During her first year on campus, Hopkins implemented a new graduation requirement: a 70-minute online bystander intervention course that must be completed six weeks into a student’s sophomore year. 

Senior Anna Lowenthal was a student intern who worked with Hopkins. 

Hopkins made significant progress in increasing awareness on campus of a variety of prevention practices and healthy behaviors through her extensive programming, Lowenthal said. 

“I’m extremely grateful to have learned from and worked under Britnie," Lowenthal said. "Because of her, I know this campus is a lot safer and more aware of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse."

Lowenthal also noted that Hopkins had prepared her and other interns employed by the center to continue Hopkins' legacy without a coordinator, and that all spring-semester events sponsored by the center will continue as planned.

Hopkins’ former position title was changed from being the center’s “coordinator” to “educator” after Hopkins enhanced the role to interface more with students, Lowenthal said. 

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The open position was made available on online hiring sites on Feb. 10, according to a posting on LinkedIn. The university hopes to hire a replacement by fall 2019, Genoni said.

The job description includes extensive responsibilities, primarily “planning, implementing and evaluating education and awareness programs to prevent sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking.” 

Additionally, the new educator will continue to assist Spiders for Spiders facilitators, as well as work with Safe Harbor advocates to lead workshops, according to the posting. 

Hopkins also worked with the Interfraternity Council in sponsoring the White Ribbon campaign, as well as providing Standards of Excellence training to Greek-life organizations. The new educator will likely assume these roles as well, Lowenthal said.

Hopkins also had a large role in educating incoming first-year and transfer students on consent, healthy relationship practices, sexual assault prevention actions and safe alcohol consumption. 

Sophomore Liz Hussin is a Spiders for Spiders facilitator and worked with Hopkins as a 2018 orientation adviser. 

"Britnie was exceptionally good at conveying important messages in an engaging manner," Hussin said, "especially for freshmen.” 

Junior Ally Charleston worked with Hopkins as a CAPS intern.  

“Britnie was such an asset to our larger team caring for student mental health," Charleston said. "Whoever takes on the position has big shoes to fill.”

For whoever does end up taking the position, interdepartmental collaboration to combat sexual violence on campus will be a top priority, Genoni said. 

“We very much look forward to working with the next individual who takes on this important role," Genoni said. 

Contact news writer Isabella Dumitrescu at isabella.dumitrescu@richmond.edu. 

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