The Catholic University of America

Student Affairs

CUA Programming Focuses on Safety and Awareness

  Mike Domitrz, right, spoke at CUA as part of the “Can I Kiss You?” program.

By Stephanie Davey, assistant dean of students

February is the month of Valentine’s Day, and for some students this can be met with feelings of anxiety or uncertainty. This year, CUA sought to prompt an optimistic dialogue on dating and healthy relationships by bringing the renowned “Can I Kiss You?” program to campus. On Feb. 23 hundreds of students packed the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center Great Room to hear nationally acclaimed author and expert Mike Domitrz speak about communication, respect, and sexual assault awareness and prevention. Domitrz’s interactive presentation challenged students to date with greater awareness, to be active bystanders, and to support their friends.

This year, Safe Spring Break Week runs March 1 to 6 and is sponsored by CUA PEERS and the Office of the Dean of Students. With a programmatic theme of Legos, students are called to “build a better break” as CUA PEERS hope to connect students with opportunities to learn about making healthy, informed choices related to alcohol and other drugs, personal safety, travel safety, and sun safety. PEERS will be tabling in the Pryzbyla Center lobby and collaborating with resident assistants, student organizations, and offices and departments across campus to deliver dynamic events and workshops throughout the week. Highlighted events for the week include North Neighborhood’s 1st Happy Hour at Busboys and Poets on March 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (open to NN1 residents only), Centennial Village 2’s Turn Down Tuesday on March 3 at 6 p.m. in CV Circle, and North Neighborhood 2’s Get REDdy for Spring Break photo contest.

April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the opportunity to engage in a greater dialogue around this important issue. This year several new initiatives will be launched to encourage this conversation. On each Tuesday in April, all members of the CUA community are invited to wear teal to raise awareness and support for victims of sexual violence in our community. Teal ribbons and resources will be available in the Pryzbyla Center lobby on each of these “Teal Tuesdays.” April 23 will be Denim Day, an event cosponsored by SAGA and CUA PEERS, for which all members of the campus community will be asked to wear denim to raise awareness against the destructive attitudes that surround sexual assault. Along with these new initiatives, annual events will be held, including:

  • “What is Sane?” — April 14 at 7 p.m. — The DC Forensic Nurse Examiner Program and the Network for Victim Recovery of DC will present on the services these organizations provide, how students can access services, resources for survivors and secondary survivors of sexual assault, and responses to trauma.
  • The Clothesline Project — April 15 to 22 — is a visual display that bears witness to violence against women. All who have been affected by sexual violence will be invited to submit a shirt designed with a message or illustration. Shirts will be available for pick up and anonymous drop off outside of the Dean of Students Office, the Counseling Center, and Campus Ministry.
  • Take Back the Night — April 22 at 7 p.m. — is a campus event that will gather the CUA community together in prayer and solidarity alongside victims of sexual violence. Students, faculty, and staff will be invited to join together to heighten awareness, provide inspiration, reduce sexual assault, and aid survivors in our community.

Additional programming will be presented throughout the month in residence halls and the Pryzbyla Center.

As a complement to this semester’s variety of events, students are called to sign the Empowered Bystander Pledge, which encourages members of the CUA community to find a way to intervene safety in situations where their fellow students are at risk. The goal of the pledge is to challenge the CUA community to think about the options that are available to them in these situations and take action. The pledge is available here.

For a full listing of events this semester and for more information about educational programs and support, please visit