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First Lady Joins UK President Lee Todd in Announcing UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women

By Mary Margaret Colliver

“Creation of this center will provide an innovative and far reaching way to address the welfare of women victimized by violence and to enhance the stature and reputation of Kentucky’s postsecondary education system across the country.”

Judi Patton,
First Lady of Kentucky

 

Sept. 27, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- First Lady Judi Patton joined University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. today in announcing plans to develop a Center for Research on Violence Against Women at UK. 

“Creation of this center will provide an innovative and far reaching way to address the welfare of women victimized by violence and to enhance the stature and reputation of Kentucky’s postsecondary education system across the country,” said Patton in announcing the new center.

“The Center for Research on Violence Against Women will fit well with the university’s priority focus on gender issues and risk-related behavior and should provide an avenue for accessing research funding to study one of the most devastating social problems of our time,” said Todd.

The primary focus of the center will be to bring faculty together to conduct research on issues related to domestic violence, rape, stalking and related crimes against women.  Three major areas of concentration have been identified by an initial faculty advisory group: the health and mental health effects of violence, legal issues, and public policy and administration.  An additional goal of the center would be to help create a national research agenda on violence against women. 

“When we created the Governor’s Office of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services over six years ago, I said we were sending a message that victims of violence and their advocates were a priority for this administration,” said Patton.  “Today, our announcement signals that this priority extends to the universities of the Commonwealth.”

In order to ensure the most effective research agenda, Todd indicated that he would like to raise money for an endowed chair for the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women.  Several victims’ groups have announced plans to contribute funding to the endowment, including the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (rape crisis centers), the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association (spouse abuse centers), and the Mary Byron Foundation.

“I am particularly pleased with the expertise in this area that is already present in UK's faculty and by the enthusiasm they have shown for developing a research center that can have both great local relevance as well as significant national influence,” said UK Acting Provost Michael T. Nietzel.

Patton and Todd credited Carol Jordan, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services, with developing the basic concept of the center.

“The extraordinary importance of this center lies in its ability to promote research and scholarship in the short run and safer lives for Kentucky families in the long run,” said Jordan. 

It is expected that the university approval process for the center will be completed prior to the end of 2002 and that initial activities of the center will begin shortly thereafter.


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