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Archive for April, 2017

Rape survivor, author to share story April 19

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Liz Seccuro, a rape survivor, victim’s advocate and the author of “Crash Into Me: A Survivor’s Search for Justice,” will speak at The University of Toledo at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 in Doermann Theater.

In 1984, Seccuro was gang-raped during her freshman year at the University of Virginia at a fraternity party. It would not be until 20 years later that Seccuro would receive justice through one attacker’s apology and criminal conviction.

Liz Seccuro

The free, public lecture will focus on Seccuro’s experience, her path to justice, and her advocacy for other victims.

“This is a story of how a victim has endured the most horrible of acts, was re-victimized, and found the strength to embark on a journey of healing and victim advocacy,” said Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness. “I cannot think of a better story of empowerment for our campus and community.”

Seccuro is a victims’ rights advocate and the founder of Sisters Together Assisting Rape Survivorss, a donor-advised fund that assists all survivors of rape, sexual assault and incest. She also teaches a few classes a year at Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Journalism on how to write responsibly about sex crimes and the art of interviewing victims of violence.

“We are thankful to the YWCA Hope Center for co-sponsoring this event with the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness and the UT Office of Marketing and Communications,” Tucker-Gail said. “I encourage everyone to come and hear Liz Seccuro’s message.”

Seccuro’s talk is part of a series of events at UT for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For the full list of events, go to

Men to walk a mile in high heels at UT to raise awareness about sexual assault

The University of Toledo’s Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness and Alpha Chi Omega will host a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event called #RedShoeChallenge in recognition of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 on Centennial Mall. It starts at the steps of the Thompson Student Union.

During the event, men will be challenged to walk a mile in high heels. It costs $5 to challenge a man, and all proceeds will go to the Bethany House in Toledo, a long-term shelter for victims and their children who are escaping domestic violence in northwest Ohio.

“Alpha Chi Omega is holding this event because our philanthropy is domestic violence awareness,” said Kristen Matson, philanthropy chair of Alpha Chi Omega. “Partnering with UT’s Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness has allowed this event to expand beyond Greek life and provide knowledge about sexual assault and domestic violence.”

To help keep costs down, shoes will not be provided. However, some sororities and fraternities have an arrangement where they will provide some shoes.

Only cash will be accepted the day of the event. Participants should arrive at 11 a.m. for check-in.

Before walking the mile, there will be several events, including Best Decorated Shoes and Best Fashion Walk in the Shoes.

“Students should attend to support the women and men of Toledo who have experienced or been affected by domestic violence and sexual assault,” Matson said. “This event is proactive in making The University of Toledo a more inclusive and protective environment.”

This fundraiser is part of a series of events at UT for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For the full list of events, go to

UT students use human simulators to practice caring for brain-dead, organ-donor patients

One organ donor can save eight lives, according to the American Transplant Foundation.

The University of Toledo is using state-of-the art simulation technology to help future medical professionals practice how to preserve and protect the organs of patients who suffered traumatic brain injury and brain death.

Using human simulators, half a dozen UT graduate students will participate in a training scenario this week on caring for brain-dead patients who are organ donors.

Media are invited to the interactive scenario that begins at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, April 13 in the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center on Health Science Campus.

“Our students are getting hands-on practice on how to medically manage brain-dead patients in order to recover organs and help save lives of others through donation,” said James Judkins, assistant professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and director of the Human Donation Science program.

The students, who are on track to graduate this July with a master’s degree, are studying human donation science in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.  

As part of program curriculum, the students have been studying the principles of medical management in brain death. The use of the Simulation Center allows these principles to be applied through the use of human simulators prior to going on clinical rotations in spring.

UT shines spotlight on child sex trafficking in U.S. with first Ohio screening of “I Am Jane Doe”

The University of Toledo’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute is hosting the first screening in Ohio of “I Am Jane Doe,” a documentary focusing on the fight against child sex trafficking online.

The free, public event begins with a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 in Doermann Theater in University Hall on UT Main Campus.

“Most of the members of our community have now heard of human trafficking. What they don’t know about is the front-line battle being waged to fight the trafficking of children online,” said Dr. Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work and director of the UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. “’I Am Jane Doe’ is a powerful documentary about this fight.”

The 2017 film chronicles the battle waged by American mothers on behalf of the victims, their middle-school daughters. The film follows their efforts to stop sex-trafficking advertising on the webpage

Panelists are UT President Sharon L. Gaber, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Williamson.

“Backpage has knowingly facilitated the sex trafficking online of vulnerable women and underage girls and covered up the evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits,” said Portman, who serves as chairman of a Senate subcommittee that brought the issue to a hearing on Capitol Hill. “This documentary shines a spotlight on the brave victims and their families as they fight to expose the world of human trafficking through the dark side of the Internet.”

The reception will be at 6 p.m., discussion at 6:30 p.m. and screening at 7 p.m.

“As a mother, this film is gut-wrenching to watch, but also empowering,” Gaber said. “By sharing the pain, strength and resilience of these mothers and daughters, we hope to help save others from suffering in the future.”

The film screening is part of a series of events at UT for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

For the full list of events, go to

UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute to host news conference about sex trafficking of minors

In response to recent allegations of child sex trafficking against two local pastors, The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute is hosting a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 12 at Reynolds Corners Branch Library, located at 4833 Dorr Street.

Dr. Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work and director of the UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, organized the event along with other concerned professionals and citizens.

“We want to decrease the stigma associated with the alleged victims and rally the community to support child sex trafficking victims,” Williamson said. “We are eager to help the public learn more about human trafficking by showing them how to look beneath the surface in their daily lives to identify children who may be suffering in plain sight.”

Clothesline Project to provide healing experience for sexual assault survivors April 12

Every day, hundreds of Americans are affected by sexual violence.

As part of the efforts to draw awareness to the devastating effects these attacks have on families and individuals, The University of Toledo Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program will host the annual Clothesline Project.

“The Clothesline Project benefits victims of sexual assault and their family members by acting as a vehicle for them to express their emotions by decorating a shirt that they feel is representative of how they feel or how the assault has affected them,” Lena Salpietro, graduate assistant for Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program, said. “It can be an integral part of the healing and recovery process because it provides another avenue for the individual to break the silence that can often surround their experience.”

The Clothesline Project will be on display from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 on UT’s Centennial Mall. If it rains, the display will be in Thompson Student Union Trimble Lounge.

The T-shirt collection, which currently holds more than 200 shirts, coordinates a color to many types of abuse: white for those who died because of violence; yellow and beige for battered and assaulted women; red, pink and orange for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green for survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple for those who were attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black for women attacked for political reasons.

“This event helps spark campus-wide discussions about sexual assault and aims to help convey the enormity of the problem of sexual assault. Other survivors are able to see tangible evidence that they are not alone and that there are resources on campus to support them,” Salpietro explained. “This display is also extremely influential for those who have the opportunity to view the collection of shirts; they are able to see that sexual assault is a pervasive issue and that real people are affected by it.”

Salpietro added there are many resources available for survivors of assault on UT campuses, including the Counseling Center, YWCA advocate, campus advocate, sexual assault and domestic violence counselor, and a 24/7 hotline. Title IX accommodations, advocacy and assistance filing a University complaint also are available.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the University is hosting a series of educational events, including self-defense training, a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event and a lecture by rape survivor and author Liz Seccuro.

For the full list of events,

UT Medical Center recognized as national leader in LGBTQA+ health care equality 

The University of Toledo Medical Center has been recognized as a 2017 “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for its commitment to the equal treatment of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning patients.

“We want all of our patients at The University of Toledo Medical Center to be in an environment that is welcoming and supports the overall healing and recovery process,” Dan Barbee, chief executive officer of UTMC, said. “To achieve this, we believe that patients, their families and loved ones need to be in a non-judgmental setting that promotes acceptance and allows a person to feel safe and protected to be their true self.”

UTMC is the only medical facility in northwest Ohio to earn this distinction and one of only 302 nationwide.

The designation was recently reported in the 10th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), reflecting on a decade of progress in LGBTQA+ health care. The HEI is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQA+ equality. The annual survey consists of questions that determine whether a hospital meets the core requirements to become a leader. A record 590 healthcare facilities actively participated in the HEI 2017 survey. In addition to active survey participants, the HRC Foundation proactively researched key policies at more than 900 non-participating hospitals. Of all those included in the HEI, 302 earned a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation. 

UT president creates task force on sexual assault awareness and prevention

University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber has created an ad-hoc task force on sexual assault awareness and prevention to compare UT’s practices and policies to best practices at other universities.

Dr. Amy Thompson, health education professor and co-director of the UT Center for Health and Successful Living, and Valerie Walston, associate vice president for student affairs and director of residence life, will co-chair the committee.

“Student safety is a top priority, and we will continue enforcing zero tolerance of any type of abuse,” Dr. Gaber said. “We have an outstanding university, and I want to make sure that we are doing all we can to educate, inform, prevent and adjudicate.”

The committee will identify and assess UT policies and practices related to sexual assault awareness, prevention and adjudication and compare these to other universities’ best practices.

The task force is expected to complete its assessment in fall 2017.

The committee is made up of students, faculty and staff, including Donald Kamm, who the University hired last year as director of Title IX and compliance to lead the prevention, education and response efforts regarding Title IX matters at UT.

Last year UT also created the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness to strengthen its efforts to prevent sexual violence and help survivors. The University hired a full-time, dedicated counselor and victim advocate funded by the center.

These efforts complement the support services provided by the UT Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program (SAEPP) already happening at the Counseling Center and through the University’s partner, the Hope Center. Any student, faculty or staff member can receive immediate assistance 24-hours-a-day or have questions answered by calling 419.530.3431.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the University is hosting a series of educational events, including self-defense training, a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event and a lecture by rape survivor and author Liz Seccuro.

For the full list of events,

Iconic journalist comes home to deliver UT commencement address May 7

Toledo native Christine Brennan, an award-winning national columnist, commentator and best-selling author, will present the keynote address during The University of Toledo’s spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 7 in the Glass Bowl on Main Campus.

Brennan will address 2,906 candidates for degrees, including 236 doctoral, 681 master’s, 1,932 bachelor’s and 57 associate’s degree candidates.

The ceremony is open to the public and can be viewed live at

Christine Brennan

Brennan, 58, grew up in Toledo’s Old Orchard area and Ottawa Hills during the 1960s and ‘70s, when few athletic opportunities existed for girls. As a child, she often asked for sports equipment and tickets to local athletic events, including UT Rockets and Toledo Mud Hens games.

“We’re proud to welcome a true trailblazer for women back as our commencement speaker,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “When Christine entered the world of sports reporting, female journalists weren’t even allowed in men’s locker rooms. Now, 35 years later, she is one of the most respected journalists in sports reporting.”

Brennan’s appearance in the Glass Bowl during UT’s first outdoor commencement ceremony in nearly a decade is poignant because she attended football games in the historic stadium with her father.

“It’s such an honor to be giving the commencement keynote address in the Glass Bowl, where I spent so much time as a child cheering for the undefeated Rockets,” Brennan said referring to UT’s 35-0 streak from 1969 to 1971. “I threw my heart and soul into that team and it rewarded fans like me with victory after victory. To be coming back to a place filled with so many great memories is just a delight.”

Brennan earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A staunch advocate for female journalists in a male-oriented profession, she was the first female sports reporter for the Miami Herald. Later hired by The Washington Post, she was the first woman to cover the Washington Redskins as a staff writer for the newspaper.

She went on to cover some of the most controversial subjects in sports. Her USA Today column regarding the male-only member policy at Augusta National Golf Club in 2002 triggered a vigorous national debate. Ten years later, Brennan broke the news that Augusta had revised its policy to include women members.

Brennan also broke the story about a judging scandal in figure skating during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as a similar judging scandal during the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia.

Currently, Brennan is a national columnist at USA Today and a commentator at ABC News, CNN, PBS NewsHour and National Public Radio. She has authored seven books, including best-seller “Inside Edge,” which was named one of the top 100 sports books in history by Sports Illustrated.

Brennan has twice been named one of the country’s top 10 sports columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors. She was the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), and created an AWSM program that provides internships and scholarships for women. To date, more than 140 students have benefited from that program.

UT’s spring commencement ceremony will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Business and Innovation, Engineering, Health and Human Services, Graduate Studies, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, as well as University College and Judith Herb College of Education.

Prior to 1998, the Glass Bowl had historically been the site for UT’s commencement celebrations. It hosted graduation again in 2008 when Savage Arena was undergoing renovations.

The Glass Bowl was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 for $313,558 to seat 8,000 people. The football stadium has been renovated over the years, while keeping the atmosphere of the original facility intact, to now seat more than 26,000 Rocket fans.

For more information, go to

Walk for Water 5K at UT to raise awareness, funds for clean water worldwide

Women and children in many countries around the world have to carry jugs for miles every day get clean water.

That trek will be simulated at The University of Toledo this weekend during the annual 5K walk and run called Walk for Water. The event raises money to help Clean Water for the World, an organization working to build, ship, install and maintain water purification units for people without clean water around the world.

Walk for Water will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9 on the UT Centennial Mall. Participants can begin checking in at 1:15 p.m.

Participants are encouraged to carry gallons of water during the fundraiser to help simulate what people around the world have to do every day. Pre-filled water jugs will be provided.

Last year, 197 participants carried a total of 202 gallons of water over the 3.2-mile route. They also raised more than $20,000, which was enough to provide 20 water purification units.

“Clean Water for the World is a nonprofit organization that provides simple, adaptable water purification systems at no charge to communities without access to clean water,” said Brittany Layden, publicity director for Walk for Water Toledo. “These units were built on UT’s campus by engineering students and then installed by the students in villages in El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These 20 units will provide about 12,000 gallons of clean water per day to about 3,000 people.”

The goal of Walk for Water is to increase Toledo’s awareness of the worldwide lack of access to clean water and to raise funds to help Clean Water for the World in its efforts to provide water purifications units at no cost to communities in developing countries.

The water purification units also help in lowering chances of getting intestinal illnesses such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid fever, Layden said.

Gold, silver and bronze metals will go to men and women in the 5K race. Trophies also will be awarded to the individual or team that raises the most money and carries the most water.

Registration is $12 for students and $15 for adults. T-shirts also will be available for $8.

Register and donate at