SCOPE Thought Piece, Question #7: Would you recommend a centralized prevention office or function for schools and college campuses? If so, what would an ideal centralized prevention function look like in your view?

Jackson Katz, Ph.D.

I think the goal for “prevention” should be to integrate “prevention” concepts into existing programs and curricula whenever and wherever possible. I don’t think that creating an overarching “prevention” office/department/funding stream is the way to go — although power to anyone who can make that happen.

I also think that the target audience for prevention work needs to start with decision-makers; on college campuses that means presidents, vice-presidents, AD’s deans etc.- but the prevention that needs to happen is not specific programs, as valuable as they might be. It is in the transformation of social norms that encourage or tolerate abuse. This means addressing cultural/campus customs and practices that have constituencies who are often willing to fight to maintain traditions that some of us find toxic. That is why true prevention work at the institutional level requires leadership — people willing to take some risks to challenge existing conventions. It’s more about politics and power, rather than who has — or can prove that they have — an “effective” program.

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