Our History

January 1985
Students launch a sit-in the office of Vice-President for Student Services, Henry Johnson, to address safety concerns of women on campus and the need to open a rape crisis center.

May 1985
University executive officers approve $75,000 for the initiation of an anti-assault program.

February 1986
The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) opens under the direction of Coordinator, Julie Steiner. The center, located in 3100 Michigan Union emerged as a source of counseling, education, and information to assault survivors, students and the University community.

The center implemented many activities in its first year of operation, including development of information brochures, programming on rape and acquaintance rape for new students and parents at Summer Orientation, the formation of SAFEWALK, training for campus security officers and residence hall staff, training of peer educators to lead Acquaintance Rape Prevention Workshops, organization of Sexual Assault Awareness Week, special programs for staff and faculty on sexual assault and harassment, full-time counselor hired to provide direct counseling and advocacy to any sexual assault survivors in the University community, expansion of Nite Owl Bus Service, first annual Sexual Assault Survivor's Speak-Out held, and workshops were done in the Greek system.

A 24-hour Crisis Line is established to provide support, counseling, and outreach to any survivor of sexual assault in the University community during the academic year. Programming was expanded to include lesbian and male survivors and the family and friends of survivors. The first annual Rape Prevention Month was also held.

The Acquaintance Rape Workshop grew to consist of 30 men and women as well as two student staff coordinators. The workshops were seen by over 8,000 students throughout the University community. NorthWalk, North Campus' nighttime walking service was established.

On June 6, 1990 SAPAC moves to the first floor (Room L-107), Winchell House of West Quad, located at 580 Union Drive (now Kennedy Drive). The Crisis Line decreases hours to 5pm - 9am weekdays and 24 hours on weekends. The NPA Program was established to organize and publicize SAPAC activities and events, network with ther student and community groups, organize letter-writing campaigns, table at various events, and more. The goal of the program is to break the silence and raise awareness about sexual violence.

The hours of SAFEWALK increase.

Deborah Cain begins as new SAPAC director on September 1, 1992. SAPAC's mission is broadened to include providing programming on domestic violence and stalking.

The addition of a Dating Violence / Domestic Violence Peer Education program in collaboration with the Domestic Violence Project. The addition of General Volunteer Program student coordinators and Master of Social Work interns. The Peer Education program expands to include workshops for men and women in athletics. SAPAC opens a SAPAC-Flint office on the Flint campus.

The Crisis Line Outreach Services increases its availability to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Peer Education program added a sexual harassment workshop. Volunteer training is consolidates to include all SAPAC volunteers. A campus sexual assault policy is written. Departmental protocols are developed.

The Men’s Activism Program is created to educate men on sexual assault and intimate partner violence-related issues, to show men that they play an essential role in ending violence, and to partner together to address these issues. Also, SAPAC implements a coordinated community response service model, provides a Master’s in Higher Education internship opportunity, creates and advisory board, and is awarded a Department of Justice grant to provide education and outreach to underrepresented communities on campus. Mary Sue Coleman mandates that all first year students receive sexual violence prevention education.

April 21, 2006
Emily Kripitz, NPA, creates the first ever SAPAC art exhibition called “rEVOLUTION: Making Art for Change.” This event has continued annually to the present.

Spring 2006
The NPA Program hosts Jean Kilbourne, feminist author, speaker, and filmmaker who is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising.

2006 & 2009
The MA Program hosts guest speaker Byron Hurt, and anti-sexist activist who provides cutting-edge male leadership, expert analysis, keynote addresses, and workshop facilitation in the field of sexual and gender violence prevention and education.

PE Program holds its first-ever spring concert fundraiser with performances from local bands and raises $1,000.  SAPAC Staff creates an educational video called "A Common Voice" that addresses sexual assault and intimate partner violence in underrepresented communities. This video has been shown at three national conferences.

SAPAC develops a nationally-recognized toolkit called "Striving for Justice: A Toolkit for Judicial Resolution Officers on College Campuses" specifically for individuals working in student conflict resolution on campus to help increase their understanding and familiarity with the issues of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. With funding from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, SAPAC collected information from other universities to develop this tool and also worked closely with a local domestic violence shelter, SafeHouse Center, in Ann Arbor, MI.

The PE Program reaches almost 4,000 first-year students, the greatest number of first-year students reached since the program's inception. SAPAC launches its first blog, maintained by student volunteers.  The National Sexual Violence Resource Center recognizes SAPAC's Toolkit as an example of a model resource for educating and training communities on sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

SAPAC hosted Jessica Valenti of feministing.com as a guest lecturer with the help of the Union Arts and Programs Women's Forum.  SAPAC Staff were successful in advocating for "intimate partner violence" to be added as a violation of the student code of conduct. In March, SAPAC is recognized by the Department of Justice as one of the top 12 colleges or universities in the country providing services around sexual assault and intimate partner violence.  SAPAC implements a monthly writing group open to any interested trauma survivors affiliated with the university.  SAPAC implements a peer led support group for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

The Men's Activism Program hosts Dr. Keith Edwards, Director of Campus Life at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota for his lecture, "Men Ending Rape: Why U-Matter."  Six volunteers from various volunteer programs attended the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference had a crowd of over 500 young women, representing over 120 feminist groups across the nation.  The first ever survivor Ally training is held as an abbreviated version of SAPAC's 30-hour volunteer training.