History of Project

After sustained political work by a coalition of California advocacy organizations, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) took the bold step of redirecting some of their victim services dollars toward campus sexual assault prevention.  In 2014, they created a Campus Sexual Assault Program (CT Program) that provided grant money to select California universities to address the following stated goal:  “to maintain a comprehensive coordinated community response that is victim/survivor centered, enhances victim/survivor safety (regardless of whether or not they report the crime to law enforcement or other investigatory bodies and regardless of whether or not they choose to participate in an investigation), provides confidential services to sexual assault victim/survivors, holds offenders accountable, and includes prevention activities.”  Then Associate Dean of Student Services, Dr. Jeane Caveness and coordinator of Women’s & Gender Equity Center Pam Rayburn applied for and successfully received one of only two Cal OES grants offered to California universities to pilot this effort.

From 2015-2017 the grant was housed under the auspice of Student Affairs.  Jeane and Pam named the project Not Alone @ the Beach (NATB) and laid the foundation for advocacy and prevention services that addressed Cal OES grant mandates.  Their many achievements include: hiring CSULB’s first Confidential Campus Advocate; establishing partnerships with community agencies who continue to work with the project today; employing a half-time University Police Department officer who trained UPD and campus staff in ‘best practice’ investigative practice; creating the NATB template for prevention and awareness activities that drew on cutting-edge bystander approaches (MVP Strategies https://mvpstrat.com/ & CSULB’s interACT https://cla.csulb.edu/departments/communicationstudies/interact/); and offering a rich array of workshops and speaking events focused on survivor experience, recovery and wellness, and cultural change.  They also brought onboard Dr. Shelley Eriksen (Human Development/Sociology) and CSULB Dr. Giannina Fehler-Cabral, Senior Consultant at Engage R & D (https://www.engagerd.com/), who together, evaluated the effectiveness of the NATB prevention approach.  The data Eriksen and Fehler-Cabral collected from student and faculty participants helped to strengthen ongoing program offerings and later, formed the basis of several academic articles.

When Jeane Caveness’ retired in January 2018, Dr. Eriksen stepped up as project director and moved the NATB initiative to the College of Liberal Arts (CLA).  Although NATB efforts continued to address student needs and experiences, the shift to Academic Affairs offered new opportunities to engage a broader sector of the university, especially faculty and staff.  To jumpstart this effort, from 2018-2020 Dr. Eriksen employed five faculty from the CLA and the College of Education to lead projects that focused on faculty needs and experiences.  These initiatives included the creation of a faculty ally training using bystander principles (a first in the nation), a protocol of engagement that helped faculty provide ‘best practice’ support to student disclosures, a curriculum infusion project focused on gender-based violence, a focus on the harassment of faculty, and a review of campus policies guided by federal recommendations.

To better align NATB with the university’s educational mission, Dr. Eriksen created the Graduate Research Group on Gender Violence Prevention Education, an effort that helped develop numerous master’s theses on related themes, and has supervised the work of a very talented array of graduate student project assistants who–with their own unique angle of vision and expertise—created innovative NATB initiatives that advanced the project mission in innovative ways.  As Chair of the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT), Dr. Eriksen continues to expand its membership to include a broad array of campus and community partners who share the NATB mission of student safety, survivor support and advocacy, and transformative social change.  With the help of CCRT partners, NATB continues to coordinate confidential advocacy services for survivors of sexual assault, and a full range of comprehensive prevention services that include women’s empowerment programming, awareness campaigns, primary prevention, bystander intervention and risk reduction.

The ongoing Cal OES CSULB initiative has culminated in recent and emerging publications, presentations and master’s theses in such areas as ‘best practice’ campus approaches, student leadership-driven prevention strategies, Title IX, faculty engagement, and statewide policy advocacy and response.  Now eight years in operation, NATB is the longest-running Cal OES initiative in California and a leader in articulating through publications and public forums the ‘lessons learned’ from this vital grant-sponsored effort to prompt universities and surrounding communities to ‘do better’ and think bigger in safeguarding equitable access to a safe learning environment for students.

Please join us!

For more information about the NATB project, contact Dr. Shelley Eriksen, shelley.eriksen@csulb.edu.

NATB extends heartfelt thanks to our dedicated campus and community partners, and to our wonderful graduate assistants who infuse NATB with their vision, courage and activist passion.  Thanks to Leena Bowman, Julia MacLaren, Rebecca Howard Valdivia, Yanet Cortez-Barba, Alex Bellenger, Nikita Prajapati, and Jessica Wiseman.