Published: April 19, 2023

The CU Boulder Police Department (CUPD), the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) and the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) have partnered to secure a more than half-million dollar grant focused on preventing identity-based and targeted violence. The award comes from the Colorado Department of Public Safety’s Preventing Identity-based Violence Grant Program.

Funding will be used to create a public awareness campaign aimed at the campus population as well as the surrounding Boulder community. It will share important information on how to recognize threatening behavior and communications and how to share those concerns with people who can help, using training, social media and video messages. 

'Protect Our Herd' campaign signage on Pearl Street Mall in fall 2020

CU Boulder signage on Pearl Street Mall promotes the Protect Our Herd campaign in fall 2020. Photo by Glenn Asakawa/CU Boulder.

The campaign will focus specifically on identity-based violence, defined as behavior targeted at a person based on their perceived identity, such as race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, citizenship status, documentation status or religion. 

The public awareness campaign will build on work already underway using funding from a previous $1.2 million dollar grant awarded to CU Boulder from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

The multidisciplinary approach of these two projects, including input from police, researchers and practitioners, will help craft and test messages designed to be well-received by the university’s undergraduate and graduate student population, an age group highly-capable of shifting social norms to improve safety.

“We recognize that our community members want to identify risks and prevent violence. This public awareness campaign will help people recognize the concerning behaviors and communications that provide opportunities to intervene with and interrupt violence and understand the resources available for reporting their concerns,” said CSPV Senior Research Associate Sarah Goodrum. 

Along with messaging to educate people on identity-based violence prevention, the project will also enhance training for campus stakeholders—including faculty, staff and police—on threat assessment and bystander intervention and response.

“This is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention which empowers friends, family, professors or anyone on campus to better recognize identity-based threats in any form, and understand how to reach out for help,” said CUPD Deputy Chief Mark Heyart.

The public safety and violence prevention partners will develop and test the public awareness campaign this spring, with a goal of promoting messages throughout the campus and Boulder communities starting in the fall semester.