The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Search for New CRA is Underway, SAPARS Contracted in the Meantime

Katherine Merisotis/The Bates Student

A hiring search for a new Confidential Resource Advisor (CRA) is underway after former CRA Lindy Magness left at the start of the semester. 

The CRA position was formerly known as the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate. The name change occurred this Fall after the Maine State Legislature passed a law that required all colleges and universities to have a position titled Confidential Resource advisor who would provide “emergency and ongoing support to survivors of sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking.”  

According to Title IX Coordinator Gwen Lexow, the CRA is a confidential advocate for people experiencing identity-based bias or harassment. 

“They are a person who can sit with students to help process what they’ve experienced, helped make referrals to other campus resources and to off campus resources to help them understand our policies and procedures…They can help provide advocacy for students who are seeking, you know, to get some kinds of accommodations,” Lexow said. 

This new name doesn’t alter the responsibilities of the position or the resources they are allocated. The only difference is that whereas the SAVA was only a confidential resource at Bates, the CRA is also confidential in the legal process, similar to a minister meaning they would have the ability to fight a subpoena.  

Since there is nobody occupying the position of CRA right now, Bates is contracting the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services (SAPARS) to fill that role in compliance with the law. SAPARS is a local organization specializing in helping people experiencing sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating, violence, stalking. 

According to Lexow, her team has trained with the staff at SAPARS to assist with the transition. 

“In January we had a meeting in which we brought everyone together from the Bates crew and the SAPARS staff to talk about Bates resources. Particularly because we were concerned about the transition.

She notes that the executive director at SAPARS was previously the Title IX coordinator at Colby. 

“So she understands, broadly, students, student needs, small campuses, liberal arts campuses. I’m not saying we’re the same as Colby, because I don’t believe that, but at the same time we’re similar enough that I think she has a pretty good grasp on how a student experiences this kind of space,” Lexow said. 

While the staff at SAPARS are not based on campus, Lexow says they are more than happy to meet students wherever they are most comfortable, whether that is on campus or off. 

For students experiencing other types of identity-based harassment and bias, there is no specific person delegated to the role of CRA.

However, Lexow emphasizes that there are many other resources on campus that are available to support students.

“Our Multifaith Chaplains, the folks in CAPS…Dri Huber is a confidential resource in the Office of Intercultural Education,” Lexow said. “And then Brenna Callahan in Bates Health services is also confidential. So those are folks that are prepared to assist students who bring forward any kind of concern. If it is a concern about accessibility, the Accessible [Education] office is also somewhere people can go to talk about what they’re experiencing.”

Lexow encourages students to come talk to her about what they are experiencing. 

“When you come talk to me, it does not start sort of a train down a track that can’t be controlled,” Lexow said. “It really is about talking with the student about what happened about as much as they want to or not. And then talking about resources and what their options are for maybe having some action taken. It doesn’t start the action, it just gives them an opportunity to hear, okay, here are your choices.”

To contact SAPARS you can connect with them directly, email the CRA at [email protected], call them at 207-753-6996 or speak to someone in the Title IX office to connect you.

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About the Contributor
Ella Beiser, Editor-in-Chief
Ella is a Junior from Chicago double majoring in Politics and Hispanic Studies. In her free time, Ella enjoys hosting a WRBC radio show, working in the greenhouse and biking around Lewiston. She is the Editor in Chief of The Student and previously served as an Assistant News Editor and Assistant Features Editor for The Student. She freelances for her local newspaper the South Side Weekly, has been published in the Maine Monitor and Vocalo Radio and in summer 2023 she was a reporting intern for the Lewiston Sun Journal.

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