Campus & Community

Susan Marine named director of Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response:

4 min read

New group offers 24-hour assistance, educational resources

Susan Marine, director, Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response: ‘As a society and a culture, and particularly as an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to help students understand sexual violence and know that they have a role in stopping it.’ (Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)

Benedict H. Gross, dean of Harvard College, has appointed Susan Marine to direct the new Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR). Marine, who served as the College’s first coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention Services during the academic year 2002-03, assumed her new duties in June 2003.

“This office is an important addition to the College, as we increase our educational programs in aspects of student social life,” said Gross. “We are very lucky to have attracted a leader of Susan’s background and talent to get it started.”

The OSAPR is an outgrowth of a report produced last year by the Committee to Address Sexual Assault at Harvard. The office helps to centralize the wide range of campus and extracampus support services and educational resources related to sexual assault; strengthens and develops educational programming; and guarantees confidential 24-hour assistance for students who have experienced sexual assault and related forms of interpersonal violence, including relationship abuse.

“The enthusiasm around what we’re trying to do has been so gratifying,” said Marine. “I’ve experienced such visible and open support at all levels of the administration and faculty, and it’s really promising for what lies ahead.”

Marine has built a distinguished career in the field of preventing sexual assault and relationship violence for over a decade ( In addition to past experience at Colorado College and Dartmouth College, Marine is a board member for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and The Network/La Red: Ending Violence in Lesbian, Bisexual Women’s and Transgender Communities. She is the lead author of a training curriculum for all rape crisis advocates in New Jersey, and serves as a consultant to numerous community agencies, colleges, and public health organizations on violence prevention programs, curricular design, and advocacy training.

Of her current position at Harvard, Marine says, “This is a dream job for anyone in my profession, particularly anyone who really cares about working with college students around these issues. As a society and a culture, and particularly as an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to help students understand sexual violence and know that they have a role in stopping it.”

Marine is joined at OSAPR by a full-time education specialist and a half-time prevention specialist. Heather Wilson, who began work in August, is a certified rape counselor and peer educator, with a master’s degree in social work from the University of Connecticut. Juan Carlos Arean, whose duties as prevention specialist began this month, brings more than 10 years’ experience in work that encourages men to prevent sexual and domestic violence.

Already, Marine has demonstrated the office’s intensive focus on educational programming. This fall, all first-year students attended Safe Community Night, an introduction to issues of sexual violence, including information about College resources and policies. Orientation also included performances from a nationally recognized troupe, “Sex Signals,” which helps students learn about consent and communication in intimate relationships. Beginning next week, all freshmen will participate in small group discussions in their dormitory entryways, facilitated by Marine, Wilson, and Arean.

In addition, Marine and her staff are developing programs for students in the Houses. Their goal is for each House to sponsor at least one educational event per term, developed with the OSAPR staff to suit each House’s population.

The OSAPR, currently located at Holyoke Center 874 and 849, will move in November to Holyoke 340, which allows confidential access to the adjoining University Health Services. The office can be reached 24 hours a day, at (617) 495-9100. Susan Marine can be reached at