Category Archives: History/Background

1989 Task Force and the original call for a Rape Center

Credit to Jason Luther for bringing this to our attention…

“I wanted to post some historical documents that help provide a context for the original genesis of the AC. These were printed in the DO on Oct 16, 1989. Importantly, The Chancellor’s Task Force on Rape was created in response to intense student pressure (including a large vigil in Walnut Park the day before) to make the campus safer in light of increases in sexual assault, including a high profile rape case involving an SU football player and a freshman in DellPlain. For more on this see John Robert Greene’s book, Syracuse University: Vol 5, Chapter 13.”

Task Force DO Oct 16, 1989 (<— pdf link, click here)


History of The AC

The Advocacy Center:  Sexual and Relationship Violence Services, Prevention and Education was originally founded in 1990 as the Syracuse University Rape:  Advocacy, Prevention and Education (R.A.P.E.) Center.  This center was established as a result of the recommendations of the Task Force on Rape created by Chancellor Melvin Eggers.  The Task Force was created to address a concern among students about an increase in the number of rapes involving Syracuse University students reported early in the fall semester of 1989.  The task force membership included four students (two undergraduates and two graduate students); three faculty members; representatives from the Office of Residence Life, Health Services, and the Department of Public Safety; two community representatives (one from the Rape Crisis Center of Syracuse and one from the District Attorney’s Office); and was chaired by the Dean of Student Relations.  Among the recommendations of the Task Force on Rape was that Syracuse University adopt the policy on rape and sexual assault developed by the group and establish a center to develop and continue comprehensive sexual assault prevention programs and provide counseling and support services for sexual assault victims. At the time that the R.A.P.E. Center was established, no comparable center existed on a college campus in the United States.  In Fall 2011, the scope of services of the R.A.P.E. Center was officially expanded to include relationship violence.  As a result of this broadening of services and the input from students, staff and faculty that the R.A.P.E. Center name created a barrier to accessing services, the center was renamed “The Advocacy Center.”


I am posting to demonstrate that The Advocacy Center was formed based out of student concern and was developed with input from students directly. There is a reason that students wanted a dedicated and confidential resource for sexual and relationship violence.  If the changes from the Chancellor’s memo were to take hold permanently, there would no longer be a centralized, survivor centric space for students to seek services.