Board of Directors
As a survivor, parent, and high school educator, I know first-hand the importance of Title IX for K-12 students. Too many K-12 schools either don’t know about their obligations under Title IX or fail to prioritize the safety of students as it relates to sexual harassment. I wholeheartedly support SSAIS in their mission to make sure all students have equal access to their education and are aware of their civil rights.
As an advocate and survivor of sexual violence, Dani seeks to disrupt the culture of shame and silence surrounding sexual abuse and sexual assault. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and NBC Opinion, among others. Dani has been recognized as a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and has two TEDx talks related to trauma and sexual violence.
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs, and Co-Founder of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools
I learned first-hand about the devastating effects of sexual assault on families when our daughter was raped on a high school field trip. In the aftermath of the assault, shock turned to frustration and anger at the school district’s lack of fairness, respect, and compassion toward our daughter, and its ignorance of its Title IX obligations that effectively ruined her high school education.
The more I’ve learned of the plight of other families in similar circumstances, the more I recognize the urgent need for educating students, families, educators, and administrators about honoring and protecting the rights of all students to an education free from sexual violence.
Dr. Levin (Ph.D in Education, University of Washington) is an education and learning consultant with over 25 years’ experience analyzing, designing, and developing curricula and educational programs with positive, lasting impact. He has been engaged in all facets of education and training design, development, delivery, and evaluation for large and small organizations in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He has extensive experience with learning needs analysis, and developing e-learning, classroom-based training, and virtual classroom support materials. His background also includes video and audio media development, broadcast documentary production, and marketing copywriting. After Dr. Levin’s daughter was raped on a school field trip, he relentlessly held the Seattle School District accountable by authoring numerous complaints at the district, state, and federal levels, and through interviews with media outlets. As Director of Programs for SSAIS, Dr. Levin is designing trainings for national distribution to address sexual assault in schools for students, parents, and K-12 school staff.
Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director, and Co-Founder of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools
As a parent who witnessed the nightmare of a peer sexual assault that devastated the victim, her education, and family life, I am compelled to warn others that someone they know will likely be sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, or discriminated against for reasons of gender, sexual orientation, or parenting while in school. While families rarely consider a life-scarring sexual harassment and sexual violence upon their child, the stark truth is that victims’ parents tell us how they never imagined something so horrible could have happened to their own child. Even more shocking is that the sexual harassment or assault often occurs on school property or during a school sponsored activity.
Regardless of where the violation occurred or by whom, when the survivor wishes to return to school, the school must protect the student under Title IX. More likely than not, a school will regard the victim as an adversary rather than a valued student entitled to an equal education under Title IX. The nightmare of sexual harassment and assault is magnified when the school district employs every imaginable tactic to shut down the complaint and deny the student’s federally mandated civil rights, in violation of Title IX.
In spite of these obstacles, our persistent advocacy caused the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to open an investigation of the Seattle School District. We now share our experience with families nationally, to spare them the agony that accompanies sexual assault/harassment and the destruction of the victim’s education. We undertake this work after hearing from numerous families how their experiences mirrored ours. Their support for this initiative to spare students such trauma has compelled us to form this non-profit to serve students, families, organizations, and schools nationwide.
As a woman who attended high school and college in the 1960s and ‘70s, I witnessed numerous instances of sexual harassment from men in positions of power. For example, I recall middle and high school teachers crossing boundaries with students, a university staff MD showing up on my doorstep, and professors known for unashamedly having sexual relations with students and staff. As an ethnomusicologist who conducted research in the Middle East, I experienced first hand the ways in which women are blatantly harassed, even in the academic environment. Still, these experiences pale by comparison with the treatment our family received, which led to the formation of this organization. Students and families must realize that this could be their nightmare—anyone’s nightmare—and take proactive steps so that we can both prevent assault and compel lawful and compassionate responses to sexual harassment and violence.
Dr. Warkov tenaciously demanded accountability from the Seattle School District after negligent chaperoning permitted an environment where sexual assault could occur. Beginning as an ordinary parent unaware of Title IX, she experienced the full spectrum of unacceptable and often unlawful responses. She meticulously documented the district’s responses at each juncture and archived correspondence and complaints for the benefit of other families. Dr. Warkov participated in numerous media interviews, organized demonstrations against the Seattle School District, and worked with education activists. Her unrelenting campaign for media and public awareness of the Seattle School District’s systemic failures has compelled the District to comply with Title IX. She is currently building a national network of parents, advocates, students, and organizations dedicated to the mission of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools. Prior to this advocacy work, Dr. Warkov received several awards including a Fulbright-Hays grant for original research in Wales, a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to study the performance of Middle Eastern music, and dissertation grants to research Arab and Jewish musicians in the Middle East. Dr. Warkov’s experience with music students, with professional musicians from a variety of socio-economic groups, and her passion for education combine to create a unique foundation for her advocacy work.
Heidi Goldstein, Executive Consultant, Human Resources, Berkeley CA
My passion for changing societal attitudes, practices and accountability around incidents of sexual harassment and assault was sparked by the experiences of my children and their peers as they progressed through middle and high school. The need for student awareness and education about their rights to a safe learning environment, and how they can act to influence school culture around harassment, is compelling. The obligation of schools – boards, administrators, teachers and staff — to build the capability and capacity to support students who have experienced sexual harassment, enact prompt and equitable remedies, and implement policies and practices to improve school climate for all students, is urgent. I have joined with Stop Sexual Assault in Schools to build on the momentum that has put the issue of sexual harassment at the forefront of the national discourse; and to foster collaborations to make meaningful change in the way K-12 schools understand and execute on their responsibility to ensure access to a full range of educational resources for all students.
Heidi Goldstein’s professional and personal advocacy work is centered in creating environments, systems and processes that support people in recognizing and pursuing their full potential. She is a vigorous advocate for gender and economic equity. In 2014 she collaborated with students at Berkeley (CA) High School to found the grassroots advocacy group BHS Stop Harassing (BHS SH), whose work to support targets of sexual harassment, state and local policy change, and education and empowerment of students to improve school climate has been recognized by awards and grants from national organizations including Equal Rights Advocates and Futures Without Violence. In addition to serving as an Adult Advisor to BHS SH, she has been an active member of the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee since 2014 and was appointed by the CA Superintendent for Public Instruction in 2016 to serve as the neutral appointee to the BUSD Personnel Commission. Her human capital development consulting practice includes pro bono support for youth-oriented and social justice organizations.
Karen Truszkowski, JD, MI
The universe works in mysterious ways. After leaving a law-school teaching career, I received a phone call that steered me in a direction that I never anticipated. The call came from a mother who desperately needed to find out how her daughter, “Jane,” could continue her education after being sexually assaulted at school. The school had suspended her even though Jane maintained she did not consent in any way. Mom tried everything she could to get her daughter back into school. Nobody listened. By the time Jane returned to school, it was too late: the damage had been done. Jane felt like no one would ever believe her. She engaged in high-risk behavior and self harm.
After my experience with Jane and her family, I decided to dedicate my practice to helping students and their families deal with the aftermath of sexual harassment and sexual assault in schools. Now, more than ever, we need to stand by our children and their families in the wake of impending changes in publicly funded education.
Karen began her career as a staff attorney for the United Auto Workers (UAW) Legal Services. Thereafter, she went into private practice where she handled personal injury matters, other civil litigation, and municipal defense for the City of Flint, MI. Her teaching career began in 1999 immediately following graduation from law school; her focus was Elder Law at the graduate school level. Karen achieved her dream of becoming a faculty supervisor in the Sixty Plus Elderlaw Clinic at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School where she had interned as a law student. In addition, Karen served as a District Court Magistrate in Oakland County, MI. Karen continues her advocacy work in elder law and elder abuse prevention.
Susan Moen, Executive Director, Jackson County (OR) SART
Susan Moen has worked in the field of sexual assault since 1995, first as an advocate with the LA Commission on Assaults Against Women and then as co-founder in 2004 of the Jackson County SART in Jackson County, Oregon. As JC SART’s Executive Director she oversees her county’s SANE program, sexual assault support groups, Victim Resource Specialist program and the adult sexual assault multi-disciplinary team meetings; she also does primary prevention education for local schools and community groups and direct advocacy with survivors. In 2010 Susan was awarded the state SART award, and received the Jan Hindman Memorial Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Victim Services” in 2014. Susan is a Founding Board Member of the You Have Options Program and contributes to the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force; she received her AB from Harvard College.
Cara Tuttle Bell, JD, Director of Vanderbilt Univ. Project SAFE Center, TN
I strongly support the efforts of SSAIS. I know from my experience working with college students that it is crucial that we start sooner in addressing the issues of interpersonal violence. The more effectively we can raise awareness of the scope of the problem and reach these younger populations (and their parents and educators) through prevention education and victim advocacy services, the healthier and safer our communities and schools, at every level, will be.
Cara Tuttle Bell is the Director of Vanderbilt University’s Project Safe Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. Cara previously served as the Associate Director for Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity at Vanderbilt University and as Director of Programs for the Women’s Center at Northwestern University. Cara holds a JD from Vanderbilt University Law School, Master of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville, and her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Ball State University, where she graduated summa cum laude.
Cara was recently named the 2015 recipient of the Mary Jane Werthan Award, which is presented to a member of the Vanderbilt community who has contributed to the advancement of women at Vanderbilt on a systemic level. The award is named in honor of Mary Jane Werthan, the first woman member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. Also in 2015, Cara was recognized by Ms. JD, a professional organization for women law students and lawyers, with their Road Less Traveled award, which honors a woman lawyer who has contributed significantly through work in non-traditional legal career path. In 2016, Cara received the K.C. Potter Outstanding Service to Students Award from the Vanderbilt University Office of the Dean of Students. Cara serves as a lecturer in the College of Arts and Science Women’s and Gender Studies Program, for which she teaches the Seminar on Gender and Violence.
Minnah Stein, EMPOWERU Founder and Community Activist, FL
In 2014, I heard a story on National Public Radio about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses in America. I could not believe that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 16 boys will be assaulted at college and that most don’t report the crime, so it’s likely those numbers are much higher. Then I learned that the statistics are equally shocking in K-12 schools. The more I learned, I became acutely aware that these shocking numbers were actually girls just like me. I knew right then and there that I had to do something to try to effect change and prevent as many people as possible from becoming a victim. If we don’t start the discussion in schools, students will not fully understand the risks or their rights.
Minnah, a college junior, has developed a strong, passionate voice to address sexual violence. Her exemplary work has reached a national audience through her appearance in Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!, interviews with experts such as Emily Lindin, and her publications for Our Bodies Ourselves, MTV, jGirls, fBomb, Women’s eNews, Women’s Media Center, and Teen Voices. She is the recipient of the 2017 Anne Frank Humanitarian Award and a JWA Rising Voices Fellowship, and the 2018 Diller Tikkun Olam award. Minnah serves SSAIS by creating school outreach initiatives, interviewing subject experts, and promoting its mission locally and nationally.
In 2014, Minnah formed EMPOWERU, a program designed to provide education, resources, and tools that motivate high school students to address relevant issues such as sexual harassment and assault. Minnah launched EMPOWERU with a weeklong campaign that encouraged local high school students to take a pledge against sexual assault. After over 200 students took the pledge, she was awarded the Global Youth Service Day grant. She followed this initiative with screenings of the documentary It Happened Here at every high school in her county. While in high school, she promoted a county-wide sexual harassment/assault and Title IX educational program for K-12 using the SSAIS video Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! and the documentary It Happened Here.
As a sophomore at a large public high school in the Northshore suburbs of Chicago, I had my “eyes opened” to the pervasive undercurrent of sexual harassment and potential for assault associated with high school culture. With the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation imprinted on the national consciousness, I began to internalize how prevalent and consuming these sexual harassment and assault issues are in our society. I was invited to speak on CBS about my opinions as a teenager on the Kavanaugh allegations. Preparing for the discussion group helped clarify my view that sexual assault can happen to anyone, no matter age, race, or status. When the question “Raise your hand if you know someone that has been sexually harassed or assaulted by a peer? was asked, two other female interviewees and I raised our hands. I was shocked to discover that their stories were very similar to what happened to one of my friends. “How could this happen?” asked in the interview. I knew I had to channel the feeling of the loss of control into advocating for and educating high school kids on this topic. Discussions on sexual harassment and assault need to happen in schools. It is my belief that addressing the issue at an early age is the best way for preventing sexual harassment and assault and igniting positive change.
Maya Behl is a seventeen-year-old junior at Glenbrook South High School where she is implementing SSAIS resources. Maya is an honor roll student, an award-winning tennis player, and aspiring singer-songwriter. Her passion for music includes composing songs, performing covers, posting her work on social media, and appearing at local events. In school Maya is involved with Model UN, Onward House Tutoring, and Key Club.
“When I was faced with the challenge of coming up with an idea for my Girl Scout Gold Award project, immediately, I was reminded of a book that I read in the 10th grade titled “SPEAK” written by Laurie Halse Anderson. It is a young adult novel that explores the journey of a high school girl who is afraid and ashamed to speak up after being sexually assaulted by a classmate. As a result, the incident took away her ability to talk to about what happened which sent her spiraling into a state of depression. In addition to the book, my interest for creating a project around this issue was piqued by statistics such as teenage girls, ages 16-19 are three and a half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault and the fact that 60% of high school boys find it acceptable to force sex on a girl in some circumstances. All of this information left me wondering how many of my classmates or young adults have been victimized in this way and are suffering in silence. That is when I made the decision to create a video titled “Starting the Conversation” to bring awareness to the global epidemic of teenage sexual peer pressure, assault, harassment, and the emotional impact it can have on teens. The video endeavors to encourage dialogue and open conversations that produce real change. The most important message I want anyone who views my video to walk away with is that if they have been victimized through sexual harassment, assault or violence, it is not their fault.”
Amani, a senior at Hiram High School, is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, National Honor Society, Beta Club, and the Principal’s List. Amani is currently pursuing dual career pathways in Audio & Video Technology and Filmmaking as well as in the theater. Upon graduating high school, Amani aspires to pursue a career in filmmaking and post-production editing. In her spare time she loves to write, edit videos, and to listen to Korean pop music; a love which has encouraged her to learn to speak and write Korean.
Project website: Starting the Conversation
Cheryl Ann Graf, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science Nursing, MBA, WA
The consistent and compassionate care of all sexual assault and domestic violence patients in WA State has been an overriding theme that I have embraced and promoted for the past 20 years. In partnership with my husband we have four daughters and realize how fragile and difficult growing up for a child/teenager can be on a good day. Add a sexual assault event and that difficult day can quickly become a nightmare for the child and parents.
Every patient and their family deserves and is rightfully entitled to care at every step of the process. Children need safety in all aspects of their life including in their schools. Often victimization is met with re-victimization and further pain which leads to real suffering. Pain can be pronounced as well as subtle. I am continuing to learn that pain respects those who are willing to get involved and take a risk. Getting involved requires facing pain directly. Victimization is real and around each of us; we can’t fix or change every event but we can’t stand still and do nothing. So it is in that theme of getting involved that a decision was made to join the worthy cause of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.
I have devoted my professional career to many aspects of Emergency Patient Care over the past 25 years. This dedication early on led me to embrace the care of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors that come to the Emergency Departments where I have worked. The many years of service have included being Director of Emergency Services, Nurse Practitioner roles in a variety of Emergency Departments (ED) and Urgent Care (UC) settings.
The most profound role I have had the opportunity to lead and develop was the Clinical Coordinator of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE) at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, WA where I performed acute and chronic care examinations on sexual assault/domestic violence victims of all ages. This SANE program changed the course of sexual assault care in Washington State as well as the community where I lived and worked.
The SANE role begun as a seed that would grow in time for sexual assault and domestic violence care in the first Emergency Department where I worked. If nurtured, the seed could flourish and benefit the community and begin the healing process for the patient and family. One afternoon early in my nursing career I was asked to go and discharge a child who had been sexually assaulted by a babysitter. The single mother had come home from work to find her beautiful girl assaulted, broken and she brought her to our ED. When I went in to discharge the child the mother sobbed with a shattered heart and I quickly learned that she too as a child had been victimized. She thought she could keep her child safe for always. I realized our community had little to no real services for families or patients when it came to sexual assault and domestic violence. That single day in the ED impacted me so profoundly that I vowed to be part of a solution and part of the healing, one patient at a time. Several years passed and I realized quickly that I must be part of a wider healing in my community. Each sexual assault/domestic violence patient I cared for had ripple effects like a pebble being tossed into the lake, touching and eroding the shores of families and individuals. No shore goes untouched when the pebble of assaults plunk into the waters. Passion alone can’t carry the load of the burden I felt so I went forth to find out how to begin the process of better care in my community.
Seeking a better model I looked to the community to find out the extent of our needs, and in this quest of developing the SANE program at Harrison Hospital I met and was mentored by the late Dr. Naomi Sugar, who headed up the medical team at Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (HCSAT) in Seattle, WA. This relationship grew into a deep friendship that expanded into working in the training department as a nurse practitioner with the Community Training Program and co-authoring the first SANE trainings in WA State with Dr. Sugar. The SANE core trainings are still provided for all of WA State to this date, including training across the entire state which encompass the rural communities.
Cheryl Ann Graf completed her training as a family nurse practitioner at Pacific Lutheran University, WA, and graduated with BSN, MSN and nurse practitioner degrees/national certifications. She also completed an MBA at the University of Washington. Cheryl is an involved lifetime member of the ENA (Emergency Nurses Association) and continues to work closely with HCSAT to further the development of the SANE Core Training course in WA and guidelines for sexual assault care.
Allie Yan, Undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, TN
I have always had a personal and academic interest in societal issues of gender and power. During my freshman year at Vanderbilt, I took Cara Tuttle Bell’s Seminar on Gender and Violence and was horrified by the extent of gendered violence that plagues all of society at the nexus of power and gender. Through this service learning course I began volunteering with SSAIS and learning about the atrocities that happen in K-12 schools across this country: both incidents of sexual violence, harassment, and discrimination, and the administrative failures to properly address them. More than ever, I began to see how efforts to end power based gendered violence in our lives must begin sooner and sooner. More importantly, these endeavors must begin soon enough to protect the most vulnerable populations of our society, across all social determinants, including age, gender, race, class, sexuality, and disability. The failures by schools to enforce Title IX and protect our students strips children of their power and silences their narratives. It devalues their personhood and fosters a culture that does not value the voices of the less powerful and marginalized.
Allie Yan is an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, double majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology and Medicine, Health, & Society, with a concentration on health disparities, intersectionality, and justice. She’s also an undergraduate researcher in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and a 2018 Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program Fellow. Allie also serves as the Vice President of Events for Vanderbilt AMIGOS, a service that connects students to many essential support programs. In addition, Allie serves as board member of Vanderbilt EmbrACE, a mentoring organization for high risk middle school girls in metropolitan Nashville. She’s also on the board of Vanderbilt UNICEF Campus Initiative that promotes humanitarianism and children’s right globally.
Allie is most passionate about improving the lives of marginalized and vulnerable populations, especially children, along the axis of health, education, and human rights. She plans to become a pediatric oncologist working with underserved populations in the United States and globally.
Charlotte Smalls, MSW, LICSW, Clinical Director, Juvenile Justice Field, MA
My interest in education equality work stems from my sister’s 10th grade sexual assault during a school basketball game. The impact of this assault on my sister and our family was devastating. Even more appalling was the way the school responded. My sister was not protected by the school and was harmed during school hours by the perpetrator’s friends. My mother had to make the difficult choice of pulling her daughters out of school for their own safety. This appeared to be a relief to the school administration, as the perpetrator was protected and able to continue his education and participation on sports teams. While my mother battled the school district in court for its unlawful response, my sister and I were homeschooled (since the principal would not allow us to return to the school), and we received our diplomas from an attorney’s office. The perpetrator, on the other hand, continued his high school career as planned, attended the prom, and walked across the stage to receive his diploma with his graduating class.
Stop Sexual Assault in Schools is an organization that is doing the work that I support and feel strongly about. My sister is a survivor of this type of violence and the school personnel that should have been on her side, simply were not. Our rights were fought for by our mother. Today, and every day moving forward, I hope through sharing my story and connecting people to resources, this work will become more and more preventive as opposed to reactive.
Former Board Chairs
Jules Irvin-Rooney, JD, VA
As both a student who survived sexual assault and activist advocate involved in working for sexual assault survivors rights since my undergraduate career, I have witnessed the atrocities, heartbreak, and frustration that obstructs healing and justice. I have also witnessed the compassion and strength demonstrated by fellow survivors, their families, and fellow advocates. These qualities have always inspired hope, determination, and the passion to help others.
While we will never be able to eradicate all the injustices that impact our students, when we start by helping one person, one group, and one school system—we are effecting change. SSAIS not only seeks to inform and provide training tools: it aims to foster lasting change in the way our society views sexual harassment/assault and its impact on students’ education, family, and the community. My goal is to help change the narrative about sexual violence in K-12 schools, promote awareness, and incite dialogue. As Board Chair I fight for full Title IX protections to our nation’s students, leading all involved in the process to create effective change — step by step — so that heinous events, like those I experienced and those that gave rise to this organization, do not continue. In order to see true change, we need to unify our efforts to address students’ civil rights under Title IX K-12. Stop Sexual Assault in Schools is the vehicle to do this. Being the Chair of the Board for this non-profit is not only a great honor but also a challenge that I take on with fervor and dedication.
Julie (Jules) Carter Irvin-Rooney, President of Title IX and Clery Act Consulting, is a legal consultant, analyst, Title IX /Clery Act expert, and advocate. Ms. Irvin-Rooney’s concentration areas include higher education law, reproductive justice law, gender law, FERPA, ADA, and Special Education issues. Her specific interest area is combating sexual assault by focusing on healthy relationships, promoting ongoing dialogues and information about sexual violence, and addressing consent issues. Ms. Irvin-Rooney facilitates training for schools and advocacy groups regarding compliance issues, implements discussions of “best practices,” advocates/educates via social media, collaborates with domestic violence advocates, police officers, commonwealths’ attorneys, among others, and assists students filing Title IX complaints. These duties, with her work as SSAIS Board Chair, fulfill her life calling to address education equality and serve assault survivors. Ms. Irvin-Rooney holds a J.D. from William & Mary Law School where she was awarded the National Association of Women Lawyers Award along with the Dean’s Certificate for special and outstanding service to the law school community. While in law school, Ms. Irvin Rooney served as a leader in promoting more scholarship and awareness on gender, sexuality, and the law, which led to her coordinating and organizing a Reproductive Justice Conference, worked with both the undergraduate school of William and Mary, along with the law school to advocate for those sexually assaulted and/or harassed. In addition, she designed learning seminars and small-group meetings for deans and advisers regarding compliance with Title IX and the Clery Act. Ms. Irvin-Rooney graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Rhetoric and Communications Studies and Sociology from the University of Richmond. She earned a master’s degree in English Rhetoric and Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University and taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels.
Jeffrey R Caffee, Attorney at Law
Once a sexual assault victim gathers the courage to stand up and fight for justice, she or he is often subject to secondary victimization. They are shamed for engaging in sexual activity and blamed for “provoking” sexual assault. Sometimes schools, businesses, or other organizations apply pressure to victims in an effort to have them lie to protect an assailant. Such actions not only tolerate sexual assault, but place public relations and profits over people. I serve on the Board of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools because of its commitment to helping change a system that works to suppress and ignore victims of sexual assault. We cannot be a society that tolerates sexual harassment and assault.
Jeff Caffee has spent his entire career protecting the rights of individuals. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School as a Dean’s Fellowship Scholar and quickly gained recognition for his trial skills. In 2009, he was honored by The International Academy of Trial Lawyers with an Award for Advocacy for distinguished achievement in the art and science of advocacy. While at the University of Notre Dame, Jeff was an active student member of the University of Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic representing low-income individuals in landlord-tenant, mortgage, and estate planning matters. He continues his efforts to assist low-income individuals with legal matters through his volunteering at the King County Family Law Information Center. In 2013, he was honored to receive The National Trial Lawyers “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” award. He has received this honor each year since. Jeff is an Eagle Member of the Washington State Association for Justice and an attorney at The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee. Jeff currently represents individuals in matters related to sexual assaults, sexual discrimination, government misconduct, and traumatic injury.
Former Board members
Gloria London, Ph.D.
As a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, I received a first class education at the oldest public high school for girls in the U.S. Schools must present a rigorous education setting where students pursue the goal of a quality education in order to succeed in life. But unless they provide a safe environment for students and offer unique opportunities, they fail as public institutions. Because an increasing number of school districts have failed to provide equal education under Title IX, I am joining the movement to support a safe environment so all students may thrive.
As the proud mother of a daughter pursuing a graduate degree in electrical engineering, I want to see more young women studying STEM subjects. Over the years I have volunteered in schools in many capacities and advocated for safe school environments. I was part of the early (1996) planning for the Seattle Girls School. In my view, if girls cannot have an equal opportunity to succeed in a classroom with boys, they deserve their own school. For example, if teachers are unable to see girls as mathematicians, then the girls need a single gender environment where they can pursue their dreams without discrimination or male intimidation. Too often I have seen teachers underestimate capable girls in the earliest grades. This attitude predisposes girls to lower their expectations and ambitions. Similarly, students of any gender identification and sexual orientation must be given the opportunity to thrive and learn at school so they may fully contribute to society. We need to assure that all citizens benefit from education equality by informing students, families, and schools of the right to an equal education under Title IX.
When sexual harassment and violence begins in the school and goes unacknowledged, and unaddressed, the impact is long lasting for all involved. In particular, girls and other frequently victimized groups learn that they are not valued by society. Victims need immediate support and protection as guaranteed under Title IX. Perpetrators must learn they can commit offenses with impunity. Unless they are stopped from committing abuse and violence in school, they have license to continue their abusive behavior in college and their own adult families. All peer perpetrators must be lawfully sanctioned and receive immediate, intensive professional counseling to address their heinous behavior.
Schools, while trying to do they job of educating students, must address the social issues that are playing out on their own campuses rather than fostering a culture of sexual violence. We must all help change attitudes towards sexual harassment and assault so that every victim has the support to come forward without shame or blame. Only then can we eradicate the raging problem of sexual harassment and assault in our schools, colleges, and universities. Let us empower students K-12 to prevent the trauma of gender based violence and discrimination.
Dr. London has advocated for student welfare in the Seattle School District for well over a decade. Since 2012 she has closely followed the events that led to a Title IX investigation of the Seattle School District and registered several complaints with the Seattle School Board. She was prepared to demonstrate in the summer of 2014 when the Seattle school board president cancelled her community meeting owing to growing public criticism.
Dr. London is a widely published archaeologist who has received numerous awards for her scholarly and humanitarian work. She received a Fulbright Award and a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to pursue research among women potters that led to the creation of her Bicommunal Workshop for modern potters from all across Cyprus. Her commitment to teacher education included directing two NEH Summer Institutes for School Teachers. She earned a Membership Service Award for her efforts to educate the general public and recent research in Middle Eastern archaeology from her professional organization, the American Schools of Oriental Research. In recent years she has taught at the Lifetime Learning Center in Seattle dedicated to seniors and homeschoolers. In 2014 she helped create a new Cultural Center and Museum of Traditional Technology in Ayios Dimitrios, Cyprus.