Local students and community members got some unique insight and educational tips during a seminar on the importance of recognizing and dealing with sexual violence, held recently at the Bay Avenue Community Center in Manahawkin.
“Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence: Media Literacy and Sexual Violence Law,” was the title of the seminar led by members from the St. Francis Community Center Counseling Services. The seminar was broken up into three parts, beginning with an introductory presentation about gender roles and sexual violence definitions by Meghan McAleer, LSW, the Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention Program Coordinator at St. Francis.
McAleer began by defining the concept of media literacy. “It is how we understand, or how we interpret the information we’re getting,” from any kind of media source, she said.
The concept of media literacy was a large part of the seminar, because as McAleer noted, we need to critically examine the things we interpret daily from the media in order to be media literate about things such as gender and sexuality.
She discussed topics such as gender versus sex, hyper masculinity, and what it means to “be a man” versus “act like a lady.” Showing funny commercial advertisements and videos to the audience, McAleer engaged with them by throwing candy out to individuals who shouted out correct answers, getting the conversation about sexual violence started in a comfortable atmosphere.
“If you’re laughing, you’re learning,” she joked. Sexual violence is a sensitive topic for many, and McAleer made it very easy for individuals to start a productive discussion around the topic.
She helped the audience to describe what we all consider to be stereotypical characteristics of men and women. The transition into a discussion about sexual violence came when she asked the audience: “What happens when a man or women acts outside of the stereotypes?”
Jumping from the lighter topics to the statistics, McAleer noted that 1 in every 2 women and 1 in every 5 men has had an experience with sexual violence in their lifetimes. These numbers are bit unsettling, especially when you notice the stark gap between males and female.
McAleer did a great job in drawing the audience’s attention to everyday things that contribute to our distorted view of sexual violence; for example, certain movies and television shows that implicitly normalize sexually violent culture, like Beauty and The Beast, among others.
“I love Game of Thrones, but what do they always do on that show?” McAleer said, “They fight and rape women.”
Following her presentation was Donna Velardi, RN, FN-CSA, the SART/FNE Coordinator from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Velardi is a member of the SART for Ocean County, which stands for the Sexual Assault Response Team.
“New Jersey is special because all 21 counties participate in the SART program,” she said.
The SART team is made up of law enforcement agents, a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate, and a Forensic Nurse Examiner. Additional members that can play a part in the process are prosecutors and hospital staff members.
When talking about sexual violence, Velardi said, “It’s really about power and control.” When Velardi helps a patient, or a victim of sexual abuse, she noted that the victim is always in charge.
“They get to tell me how they want to do things,” she said.
According to her presentation, SART exists to provide victim-centered services, to help minimize re-victimization, to provide forensic medical exams quickly and with quality evidence examination, and to assist in prosecution. The SART program is required by law and is coordinated by the NJ Division of Criminal Justice and operated by the County Prosecutor.
The Ocean County SART program works with four different hospitals in Ocean County, including: Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, and Community Medical Center in Toms River. Velardi said that if a victim of sexual assault visits one of these hospitals for help, they need not wait in the emergency room. These patients are taken back to a specially designated room for SART that allows them easy and quick access to advocates that will help them.
“I have been a Forensic Nurse for 18 years,” said Velardi. “I’ve done over 200 cases of sexual assault in my lifetime.”
She also noted that the SART program and all of the services and resources it provides its patients are all grant funded and free to patients, excluding sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing.
Velardi ended her presentation on a positive note, noting that more males have been recorded coming forward after incidents of sexual abuse.
“This means that these men are becoming better educated, and stronger,” when it comes to sexual violence, she said.
Following Velardi was the final aspect of the seminar, which included comments from Stockton University Interim Police Chief Cynthia Parker and Stafford Township Police Chief Thomas Dellane.
“Sexual violence (response) is not something that the law enforcement department does by themselves,” Chief Parker said.
Accompanying Parker at the seminar were officials from Stockton, including the Clery Compliance Coordinator Rosanne Latoracca, Title IX Coordinator Valerie Hayes, and Director of the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Center Laurie Dutton.
“The more we educate, it’s all about prevention, but the big thing is consent,” Hayes emphasized.
Chief Dellane noted that the department has a very strong focus on providing the needed services to the community, regarding sexual assault. “Our purpose, our goal, is to prevent re-victimization,” he said.
Velardi mentioned that, “we would like everyone to come forward (for help)…but not everyone is ready.”
To this, an audience member said: “The important takeaway is to tell someone.”
Stockton University expanded not only its physical footprint at its Manahawkin campus over the winter break, but also added more health science opportunities for students.
The college absorbed an adjacent building, the former site of Rothman Institute Orthopaedics, at its 712 East Bay Ave. location to give nursing students more room for hands-on learning experiences and a place to offer additional general education courses near students living in Ocean County.
Edward Walton, Stockton interim associate dean of health sciences, said the new site helps expand the 15-month accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and the Registered Nurse-to-BSN program, which are conducted both online and in Manahawkin.
University officials said the additional 7,915-square-foot space is fitted with seven physical assessment examination rooms and has room for nursing students to take part in a six-bed Foundations of Nursing lab.
The accelerated BSN students will spend one full day a week in class at the Manahawkin site in addition to classes and clinical assignments elsewhere, including at Stockton’s main campus in Galloway Township.
The new site includes a lobby, or lounge area, with seating for students to eat lunch. There is also a faculty lounge and a small student-hospitality area with snacks and coffee.
“They are here all day, and we want them to feel welcomed and comfortable,” Michele Collins-Davies, site manager, said in a statement.
The accelerated BSN program is for students with a bachelor’s degree who want to become registered nurses. Twenty-four students make up the current class, and a new class will start in the fall.
Stockton’s physical expansion will also lead to an increased number of general education and core health science classes offered at the Manahawkin location. Officials said they hope to increase the number from 19 to 31 by the fall.
The university is currently working on expanding its campus in Atlantic City in a $178.3 million project being built on former empty lots at the end of Albany Avenue. The campus will include parking spaces, housing, an academic building and more. It is scheduled to be open for the fall 2018 semester.
Students arriving for the spring semester at Stockton University’s Manahawkin Instructional site discovered it had grown to more than three times its size.
The expansion into the adjacent 7,915 square-foot building at 712 E. Bay Avenue, former site of Rothman Institute Orthopaedics gives nursing students more room for hands-on learning in the six-bed Foundations of Nursing lab and seven physical assessment examining rooms that look like a professional medical office.
The expansion will also provide room for additional general education courses for the convenience of students living in Ocean County.
“I love it, said student Ann Smith, 21, of Manahawkin, who along with classmates in the Accelerated BSN, or TRANSCEL program, used the site for the first time on Jan. 18.
The Accelerated BSN students will spend one full day a week in class at the site in addition to their clinical assignments and other classes.
Art work from the Noyes Museum collection, including some by Fred Noyes, is exhibited throughout the site, adding color and interest.
“It is much more spacious and very beautiful,” said student Christian Dy of Mullica Hill.
The new site includes a lobby/lounge area with seating where students can eat lunch. There is a faculty lounge and small student hospitality area with snacks and coffee.
“They are here all day, and we want to them feel welcomed and comfortable,” said Michele Collins-Davies, the site manager.
“They did a really good job,” said student Lindsay Carignan of Somers Point, who said her drive is a bit longer now on Thursdays, but it’s worth it.
Edward Walton, interim associate dean of health sciences at Stockton said the new site facilitates the expansion of the 15-month Accelerated BSN program and the RN to BSN program, a hybrid program that meets both online and in Manahawkin.
“The RN to BSN is for the student who wants the flexibility of an online program, but also some in-class support,” Walton said. “The site fits the needs of students in a welcoming environment.”
The Accelerated BSN program is for students with a bachelor’s degree, typically in a health or science field, who wants to become a registered nurse with a BSN. Twenty-four students are in the current cohort and a new class will start in the fall.
The expansion will also allow Stockton to increase the number of general education and core Health Sciences courses that are offered in Manahawkin from the current 19 to 31 in the fall.
Summer courses are also offered at the Manahawkin site, and 2018’s offerings will include Science of Forecasting Waves, Baseball History and Literature, Hispanic Literature and Film, Car Culture in America, Beaches, Business Basics and Introduction to Health Sciences.
An official dedication for the expansion will be held at 11:30 a.m. March 8.
For more information on courses offered at Manahawkin click here or go to Stockton.edu/Manahawkin.
For more information about nursing programs at Stockton, click here or go to Stockton.edu/health-sciences.
Students at Stockton University can take advantage of discounted rates for tuition and housing beginning in summer 2018, the college announced this week after its Board of Trustees meeting.
The meeting also included approval of housing rates, naming of the event room at the new Atlantic City Campus for Fannie Lou Hamer, and selection of a new vice president for student affairs.
Under the discounted summer rate offer, undergraduate students who take at least one class at one of Stockton’s satellite instructional sites in Atlantic City, Seaview, Woodbine, Manahawkin and Hammonton will pay $3,278 for three classes, in effect getting one course free. The cost of one four-credit course will be $1,639 for tuition and fees. The summer rate is available to both Stockton students and students attending other colleges.
Additionally, students who reside in the new Atlantic City Campus apartments, scheduled to open in the fall of 2018, will be eligible for a discounted 12-month housing rate, saving a student about $600 over two semesters.
The board also approved 2018-19 housing rates, some of which increased as much as 3 percent over this year. Housing costs per semester will range from $3,027 to $5,700, depending on location and size.
In other business, the board approved a resolution to name the event room at the new Atlantic City Campus Academic Building after civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer.
“Fannie Lou Hamer made history on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City,” Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said. “As the new Stockton campus continues to rise, there could be no greater public honor than to recognize Mrs. Hamer’s contribution to the march toward freedom and social justice than naming the new event room — a place where students, faculty, staff and community will come to learn, reflect and listen to voices of reason — in her honor.”
The board also approved Christopher C. Catching as Stockton’s new vice president for student affairs. Catching, who will start in February, comes from Southern Connecticut State University, where he is assistant vice president for student affairs. He will replace Thomasa Gonzalez, who is retiring after more than 30 years at Stockton.
Kesselman said Catching’s experience in strategic planning and student success programs, and his interest in social justice and inclusion mesh perfectly with Stockton’s mission to develop engaged and effective citizens and provide an environment of excellence for a diverse student body.
“He understands and represents the values and vision of Stockton,” Kesselman said. “He is a great fit for us.”
Galloway, N.J. - Registered nurses with an associate degree or diploma in nursing who are interested in earning their Bachelor of Science degree are invited to attend informational sessions this month about Stockton University’s RN-BSN nursing program, which will begin this September in Manahawkin, N.J.
Free sessions will be held at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday, June 26 at Stockton at Manahawkin, 712 E. Bay Ave. Attendees should arrive promptly for each session, as they are sequential in nature.
Representatives from Nursing, Admissions, Financial Aid and Academic Advising will be onsite to provide information about the RN-BSN, being offered for the first time at the Manahawkin location. The hybrid program, designed for working professionals, will combine online classes with a face-to-face meeting every other week on Fridays.
“National trends point toward an increasing demand for baccalaureate-prepared nurses. The School of Health Sciences is committed to providing innovative in-demand programs that meet the health care needs of the region,” said Dean Theresa Bartolotta.
The School of Health Sciences will be expanding further into larger facilities in Ocean County in 2018, providing more students from central and south New Jersey with a convenient location to earn degrees in several fast-growing fields of health care. The university will be opening a 7,915-square-foot expansion, with classroom space, teaching labs and a student lounge adjacent to the current location.
For more information, visit stockton.edu/health-sciences/nursing.