New sexual violence prevention coordinator will work to expand programming on campus

Carleton welcomed its first full-time sexual violence prevention coordinator, Nora Peterson, in February. The hire is another step forward in the college’s commitment to fully support students under the umbrella of Title IX.

Lea Winston '22 Apr. 3, 2019

Nora Peterson, sexual violence prevention coordinator

Carleton welcomed its first full-time sexual violence prevention coordinator, Nora Peterson, in February. The hire is another step forward in the college’s commitment to fully support students under the umbrella of Title IX.

In her role, Peterson will work toward expanding existing programs, such as Green Dot Bystander Intervention training and online programming for first-year students, while also developing new prevention initiatives.  

“It makes me excited to be in this role knowing that it is so supported by the institution,” Peterson said. “We’re really looking to expand what prevention efforts we’re doing here at Carleton, so we’re even thinking as ambitiously as looking for a four-year comprehensive curriculum that all students could be involved in.”

Peterson knows collaboration is essential to her success in the role, and she hopes to partner with existing campus organizations like Campus Advocates Against Sexual Harassment and Assault (CAASHA), the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC), Residential Life, and Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) to develop and implement future programming. She said she’d like to provide programs to students covering a breadth of topics related to sexual assault prevention, including developing healthy relationships.

“Instances of interpersonal violence impact so many people's lives, and we really are doing a disservice throughout our lives that we don’t get to talk about it,” Peterson said. “It’s important to have a variety of topics covered and a variety of ways that students can digest that material, whether that's online, in person, workshops or film screenings. Everyone has a different way of learning, and we want to make sure we are accommodating everyone to the best of our ability.”

Peterson works alongside Carleton’s Title IX Coordinator Laura Riehle-Merrill. Although the two work closely together, their roles are quite different—Riehle-Merrill responds to harm that has already occurred, while Peterson’s job is to work toward preventing harm from happening. Despite this critical difference, Peterson highlighted how both positions share their goal of supporting and helping students.

Prior to joining Carleton, Peterson served as the direct service specialist/volunteer coordinator at Montana State University, where she worked directly with survivors of interpersonal violence (including sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking) and supervised a group of over 60 student volunteer advocates. She said her transition to Carleton felt as if she was “coming home” to a small liberal arts institution similar to the college she attended. She said she loves working directly with students and seeing their energy around sexual violence prevention on campus.

“You can see the future as the students are getting interested and making changes,” she said. “It gives me a lot of hope for a better future.”

Originally from Illinois, Peterson received her BA in anthropology and women’s studies from Illinois Wesleyan University and went on to receive her master’s in women’s and gender studies from the Universidad de Granada in Granada, Spain, and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

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