Leading the initiative on violence prevention and education

University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins has appointed Chris Linder as a special assistant to support violence prevention and education efforts on campus.

Chris Linder

Linder, an assistant professor in the College of Education, researches sexual violence and student activism. Before joining the U in 2018, she was a student affairs educator, administrator and director of a campus-based women’s center supporting survivors of sexual violence. Linder is the author of “Sexual Violence on Campus: Power-Conscious Approaches to Awareness, Prevention, and Response,” published in 2018. She also is co-editor of “Intersections of Identity and Sexual Violence on Campus.”

“Chris’ expertise and talent will be a tremendous benefit in our effort to enhance campus safety,” Watkins said. “She has already contributed so much to campus initiatives in this area and I am grateful Chris is willing to take on this new role.”

Linder will remain a faculty member in the College of Education while taking on the one-year assignment.

“I am excited to support the work already happening at the U to address sexual and interpersonal violence,” Linder said, “and I look forward to leading us to engage in more primary prevention work. I hope that through my leadership and scholarship, we can explicitly address power and identity in our collective work to address sexual and interpersonal violence.”

As a special assistant, Linder will advise Watkins and other campus leaders on issues surrounding intimate partner violence and sexual assault. She will work with groups focused on campus safety and will help guide initiatives related to reducing intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Linder also will work to improve communication, awareness and information-sharing across campus and in the broader community.

As part of her work, Linder has launched an Interpersonal Violence Prevention & Education Collective comprised of students, staff and faculty that will work on primary prevention strategies using a power-conscious, equitable lens.

“When we address oppression as the root cause of violence, everyone’s experience will change and we may see a greater impact on overall rates of interpersonal violence prevention,” Linder said.

Linder hosted a daylong retreat for campus members interested in participating in the collective on Friday to develop initial priorities. For more information about the collective, contact Linder at chris.linder@utah.edu.