A Holistic Approach to Preventing Violence

September 7, 2021

When she was at Carolina the first time, especially in her roles as Carolina Women’s Center director and Title IX coordinator, Christi Hurt often looked at campus violence through a gender-based lens.

But returning to the University in July after two years as a national consultant — amid a pandemic and in the wake of a new focus on institutional racism and its impacts — she is taking a broader perspective.

“Violence prevention is an issue that everybody needs to be involved in because it’s about culture change. Violence doesn’t happen out of thin air. It happens because we’ve created the community conditions where somebody decides it’s OK to harm somebody else without consequences,” said Hurt, hired in July as the University’s first senior prevention strategy officer. “When you do violence prevention work, you have to do it on a lot of different levels — institutionally, organizationally, individually — to do it holistically.”

That’s because relationship violence and hate crimes share similar root causes, she said. “We’re following the data. We know that our LGBTQ students and students of color are more likely to be harmed by interpersonal violence. What’s really great about the coordination opportunity here is that we can go upstream to look at those root causes. A lot of this work can be tackled together, and we can do that with our partners in the diversity and inclusion space or the LGBTQ center.”

Hurt’s position is a new one in Student Affairs senior leadership that will also oversee the Student Wellness department as part of that holistic approach. She will lead the development of a cross-campus violence prevention strategy, programming and a long-term funding model. In developing strategies that work, she will seek out voices of students, staff and faculty, especially from the BIPOC and LGBTQ community. Hurt, who just completed her doctorate in public health leadership from the Gillings School of Global Public Health, also plans to incorporate relevant research.

Read the interview with Christi Hurt at The Well.

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