October 22, 2018

Flags on campus raise awareness about domestic violence

Flags waving in campus square mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2018.

Flags waving in campus square mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2018.

Over 45 students and their family and friends covered the campus square with flags

How can a group of legal studies students create a powerful visual to raise awareness for national domestic violence awareness month in October? The students answered by showing up with family and friends to Swenson Hall on a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon to plant over 6,000 red and purple flags in the campus square.

Over 45 students and their family and friends showed up in Swenson Hall on October 21 to cover the campus square with flags. They heard information about domestic violence awareness and learned about the Academic Service-Learning (AS-L), project that motivated this effort.

Students and family/friend members planted the over 6,000 red and purple flags

Purple is the color of domestic violence awareness and the red flags were added in to make a provocative and powerful point.  

“Love shouldn’t hurt and love should never create bruises,” said legal studies professor Maria Stalzer Wyant Cuzzo. “By combining red and purple colors, our class wanted to show people what bruises look like and encourage people to never condone domestic violence of any kind,” she added.

The Legal Studies 115 class titled Law and Human Behavior works collaboratively with the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA) to raise student and public awareness about domestic violence issues. The class is engaged in AS-L, a High Impact Practice at UW-Superior that involves students directly with a community partner to serve the community’s needs.  

“We take students in a 100 level course and plunge them deeply into the very serious legal and social issue of domestic violence and they learn quickly how real and challenging this phenomenon is,” said Cuzzo. “Inevitably they rise to the challenge of taking concrete steps to raise public awareness on this key topic – someday we all hope this work will no longer be needed – but that day is not today”

The class has engaged in active bystander training sessions with associate dean Tammy Fanning of the Division of Student Affairs, participated in LGBTQA+ training as related to intimate partner violence issues with T. Leeper of the Gender Equity Resource Center, researched one topic educational posters to raise awareness about this topic, created team based posters for public display and agreed to do the flag planting project on campus.  

The one-topic educational posters were on display outside of the Gender Equity Resource Center on first floor Swenson Hall on Tuesday, October 23. They were also displayed at a community event sponsored by the Domestic Violence Coordinated Community Response Team (DV-CCR) in coordination with CASDA on Thursday, October 25, at VIP Pizza in Superior. The posters were designed to educate the campus and community on domestic violence and encourage more positive interventions and actions to prevent and respond to domestic violence in our region.  

“The posters involve early-level research into this topic so students begin to understand how prevalent and powerful domestic violence is in this region,” said Cuzzo. “By creating a poster, the students have more personal ownership over the topic and empowerment to speak about it in public and with their family and friends.”  

The campus poster viewing is done in collaboration with the Gender Equity Resource Center under the leadership of T. Leeper.  

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month across the United States. CASDA’s work to prevent domestic violence and provide proactive supportive resources and responses to survivors and their families continues. CASDA celebrated its 30th year of service this fall.  

“I know CASDA hoped that by now, they would no longer be needed in this region but, if anything, the opposite is true – there are more survivors who need their expertise, knowledge, and resources than ever before,” said Cuzzo. “So long as CASDA needs their help, the legal studies and criminal justice program will support their efforts through AS-L projects like this one.”

Flags waving in campus square mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2018.

Flags waving in campus square mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2018.

UW-Superior offers a legal studies major, a criminal justice concentration major and a criminal justice minor. For more information, please contact Admissions or Maria Stalzer Wyant Cuzzo.



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