Athletes and athletic staff required to participate in One Love Escalation workshops after NCAA mandate

Once+competitions+begin%2C+student-athletes+will+be+tested+up+to+three+times+a+week.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Chuck+Zovko%29+

Once competitions begin, student-athletes will be tested up to three times a week. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Zovko)

Gabrielle Tropp

In order to help all varsity athletes and athletic staff at Lafayette fulfill the NCAA Board of Governors regulation that they “participate in education regarding sexual violence,” all Lafayette athletes are now required to attend One Love Escalation Workshops this semester, Deputy Director of Athletic Compliance Kaitlyn McKittrick wrote in an email. This new policy was adopted by the NCAA on Aug. 8, 2017. 

The One Love Foundation was founded in 2010 by the family of Yeardley Love, a lacrosse player at the University of Virginia, who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend just three weeks before her graduation. Her family and this foundation, among many other groups in recent years, have made efforts to help people understand that relationship violence is more common than people tend to think.

Lafayette has a policy that its athletes attend “some form of education on sexual harassment/sexual assault” each year. Pards Against Sexual Asault (PASA) and Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (SASH) are meant to help students with issues of sexual violence, but programming focused on domestic abuse is less common in the community, McKittrick wrote.

For this reason, McKittrick wrote, “I hope the facilitated discussion [at the workshop] triggers thoughtful conversation and action beyond just the time spent in the session.”

She stated that about half of the varsity athletes have already attended this workshop, which men and women attend separately split by athletic team, and the rest are scheduled to complete the programming before the end of the semester.

“Working with our Educational Equity office, we thought [splitting up men and women] would allow for more open and honest dialogue and therefore be more beneficial to students,” McKittrick wrote.

Only the varsity athletes are required to participate in One Love, but McKittrick said that other athletes are encouraged to take part in the open sessions offered to the whole campus. Looking to the future, she said, “We are already discussing different options and topics for next year to be able to add to this experience and hopefully impact behavior in a positive way.”

One Love’s work is not new to campus. Some Greek organizations have done private workshops for their chapters, and last semester Emily Koenig ’18 and Bella Fiorita ’19 facilitated a domestic abuse workshop for all of Greek life. 

One in every three women and one in every four men will be in an abusive relationship in their life,  according to Educational Equity Coordinator Jessica Brown and Educational Equity Intern Meghan Santamaria. Young people, specifically in the 16-24 age range, are particularly at risk for this, they wrote in an email.

Santamaria joined the campus community this semester as a trained One Love facilitator, making it easy to run more frequent workshops this semester, which she has brought “to various members of the campus community including different student groups, faculty, and staff members,” she wrote in an email. 

The Escalation Workshop is based on an award-winning film followed by a discussion.

“The workshops are limited to about 15-20 attendees to provide a close-knit and private environment. The workshop typically lasts about 90 minutes total,” Sanataria wrote.

The goal of the workshop is “to help young adults understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships so they may seek help before an abusive relationship escalates to violence,” she added.

One Love’s workshops were started because signs of relationship abuse are often misunderstood or invisible to friends and family, Santamaria said.