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CARE program undergoes transition period in search for new director, staff

UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services executive director Nicole Green will serve as the interim director of the Campus Assault Resources and Education program after administrators decided not to renew former director Alicia Oeser’s contract. (Kristie-Valerie Hoang/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Marilyn Chavez-Martinez

May. 19, 2019 11:56 pm

The director of UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services will serve as interim director for a campus assault resource program.

Nicole Green, CAPS executive director, will serve as interim director for the Campus Assault Resources & Education program while the program searches for a permanent hire, said Suzanne Seplow, assistant vice chancellor of student development. CARE provides resources to sexual assault survivors and advocates against sexual violence.

The vacancy comes after administrators decided not to renew former CARE director Alicia Oeser’s contract in early May for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Seplow said she cannot comment on the decisions to remove Oeser due to privacy reasons.

She said administrators want CARE to hire more staff with backgrounds in social work or psychology.

“The direction that we’re going is having a larger staff that are more advocates, so less in terms of prevention and education, but more in terms of doing the direct service to students,” Seplow said.

Green said students can email her about potentially joining the search committee when administrators officially begin hiring for the position.

Robert Watson, president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, said his biggest concern during the transition was ensuring students continue to have access to CARE resources while the program searches for a permanent director.

“Obviously, (USAC will) be continuing to look into it and make sure that the transition is running smoothly, and then I think (the) council specifically really looks forward to hearing how students can be involved in the transition process and making sure students’ voices are heard,” Watson said.

The CARE program’s services are still available to students, staff and faculty during normal business hours, despite the personnel change, according to a statement from CARE.

Atreyi Mitra, a second-year human biology and society student, said she thinks administrators adequately addressed her concerns during the USAC meeting and said she supported their plan to increase the staff of advocates.

“(Seplow, Dean of Students Maria Bladizzi and Green) all listened with compassion and care,” Mitra said. “I even followed them out afterwards, and they were willing to talk to me for 30 minutes.”

However, Mitra said she thinks administrators should have consulted students before deciding not to renew Oeser’s contract.

“A lot of her projects that she’s been working on are now just going to have to come to a pause because UCLA could not recognize the amount of passion and energy that she brought to the CARE office every single day,” Mitra said.

Grace Hong, a professor of gender studies and the incoming associate director for the Center for the Study of Women, said in an email statement CSW collaborated with Oeser on upcoming projects because it heard many students had positive experiences with Oeser. She said she was surprised when she found out Oeser would not be continuing as director.

“Every interaction I’ve had with her was terrific and her vision for CARE was exactly in line with everything that years of research, teaching and institutional involvement in this issue had shown me was the right direction,” Hong said.

She also said she thinks the CARE director position should be a permanent staff position as opposed to a contracted one.

“I think the fact that the CARE director could be dismissed in this way demonstrates the relative lack of power and the vulnerability of this position,” Hong said.

Green said the administrators will hold part of the search process to hire the new program director and additional CARE staff in the summer and hopes to finalize personnel by fall.

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Marilyn Chavez-Martinez | Outreach director
Chavez-Martinez is the 2019-2020 Assistant News editor for the Campus Politics beat. She was previously a reporter for the beat. Chavez-Martinez is also a second-year English major.
Chavez-Martinez is the 2019-2020 Assistant News editor for the Campus Politics beat. She was previously a reporter for the beat. Chavez-Martinez is also a second-year English major.
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