Community Programs and Events Planned at Pitt on Preventing Sexual Violence

Issue Date: 
November 2, 2015

The University of Pittsburgh is taking a proactive approach to raising awareness and prevention of sexual assault on its campuses.

Several events and programs are planned this month as a number of Pitt schools and departments aim to keep the campus focused on prevention issues.

The efforts follow the recent release of results from the Campus Climate Survey, administered by the Association of American Universities (AAU) to assess student attitudes and experiences relating to sexual violence and harassment at colleges across the country. Pitt was among 27 of the AAU’s 62 member universities that volunteered to participate in the survey.

Katie Pope, Pitt’s Title IX coordinator within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is pleased with the docket of events slated for November. “It’s great to have this diversity of activities taking place, particularly on the heels of the release of the AAU survey data,” says Pope. “I think it’s a good opportunity to continue to discuss these issues on our campus and to continue to raise awareness.”

An overview of several events follows. 

“Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender and Violence: Crossing Boundaries and Bridging Divides”

12:30 p.m. Nov. 2, School of Law Alcoa Room

The School of Law will host this two-hour session featuring three speakers. Western Law School (Ontario, Canada) Professor Valerie Oosterveld will address the degree to which international criminal tribunals understand—and misunderstand—the role played by gender during the commission of crimes against humanity.  A second talk, “Sexual Assault and Misconduct: Campus Climate and Response,” will be delivered by Pitt’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Pamela Connelly and Title IX Coordinator Katie Pope.  

“Affective Atmosphere and Domestic Violence”

4 p.m. Nov. 5, Room 1228 Cathedral of Learning

Sponsored by the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program, the event will feature speaker Lucas Gottzén, an associate professor in Stockholm University’s Department of Child and Youth Studies.  

“Reducing Dangerous and Underage Drinking: Innovative Strategies for the Millennial Generation”

8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 10, William Pitt Union

Pitt’s Office of Community and Governmental Relations, together with the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education, will host this one-day conference to address alcohol abuse prevention, education, response, and support, for Allegheny County’s 10 accredited colleges and universities. Among the themes to be discussed will be the development of innovative programs to address sexual violence and alcohol consumption on campuses.

Experts in the field will present evidence-based practices for dealing with student populations and discuss everything from the science of intoxication to forming community partnerships to promote public health and safety. The conference is geared toward university staff, faculty, and administrators from all disciplines and departments. Conference tickets, which are $30 and include breakfast, lunch, and hors d’oeuvres, may be purchased at


Nov. 11-22, Heymann Theatre

Pitt’s Stages and the Department of Theatre Arts will premiere a production of GOOD KIDS, an award-winning play by Naomi Iizuka. The show explores the junction between sexual violence, campus climates, and social media. The play is based on real events that occurred in Steubenville, Ohio, in 2012.

Thanks to the support of the Pitt community, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Pitt Provost’s Office, GOOD KIDS and an accompanying reading series will be free to all students, regardless of whether or not they attend Pitt. Tickets are $12 for non-students. 

The drama is codirected by Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, an assistant professor in Pitt’s Theatre Arts department, and Kimberly Griffin, a Chosky Teaching Artist-In-Residence at Pitt. They also plan to continue the conversation in the spring with a reading series that highlights sexual and gendered violence in global contexts. For one weekend in February, the department will host a reading of four plays—from Africa, Mexico, and the United States. The readings, which will be open and free to the public, will be read by professional artists in the Pittsburgh community and Pitt student actors. The reading series will examine “the way in which theatre is—and is not—uniquely suited to contend with sexual and gendered violence and to create both community action and awareness around these issues,” says Jackson-Schebetta. The play and series are both part of the Pitt’s Year of the Humanities.

GOOD KIDS is part of The Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s New Play Initiative and has been produced royalty-free in universities across the country since October 2014. Additional information and ticket reservations are available at

The Invisible War

11 a.m. Nov. 14, Pitt School of Law Alcoa Room

The Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program will sponsor a screening and discussion of The Invisible War, an award-winning documentary on military sexual assault. 

“Are Children & Women for Sale? Yes, and It’s a $150 Billion Industry”

Noon, Nov. 17, Room 2017 Cathedral of Learning

Hosted by the School of Social Work, the lecture will be delivered by Noel Busch-Armendariz, a professor and director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin.