Nov. 10, 2014 VARC Website

ROCHESTER, Mich. - With a priority put on student-athlete well-being, Oakland University Director of Athletics Jeff Konya has announced a campus partnership with Violence and Abuse Resource Consortium (VARC). Through the direction of Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Holly Kerstner, the Golden Grizzlies have created a Life Skills program that will educate student-athletes as they grow on and off the playing field.

"The vision that Dr. Burgess-Proctor, Dr. Pickett and Dr. Purdie had to pull this consortium together was the first step in creating a safe place for discussion about violence and abuse," said Kerstner. "Oakland Athletics understands the importance of providing our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the University community with knowledge to make the right decisions about their words and actions. Being a VARC campus partner is a powerful addition to our Life Skills program, which strives to address every component of a student-athlete's life. We are proud to work with the VARC and continue to be leaders and role models for safety and well-being on campus and in the community."

As part of this initiative, the Golden Grizzlies invited former Syracuse All-American and NFL player Don McPherson out to speak to student-athletes, university and athletics staff about gender differences and how that can lead to other issues. He has testified twice before the United States Congress and has worked closely with the U.S. Departments of Education and Defense on issues of sexual violence education and the military, respectively. McPherson appeared on Oprah and was hired by the NFL to speak to all players after the Ray Rice incident.

Oakland University assistant professor of criminal justice Dr. Amanda Burgess-Proctor started VARC, with colleagues Dr. Scott Pickett (Psychology) and Dr. Michelle Purdie (Psychology). The mission is to promote university and community outreach, facilitate education and training, advance interdisciplinary research, and inform public policy on violence and abuse.

"The Violence and Abuse Resource Consortium (VARC) at Oakland University is pleased to recognize the athletics program as our inaugural campus partner" said Professor Burgess-Proctor. "By becoming a VARC campus partner, Oakland Athletics solidifies its support for anti-violence initiatives both on and off campus. Likewise, VARC recognizes the leadership of Oakland student-athletes in creating a campus climate that promotes the safety and well-being of the entire campus community. VARC is proud to have the support of the Golden Grizzles!"


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