Lauren Klein, assistant director for the Respect Program in the Office of Health Promotion, has left Emory to continue her graduate studies.

Klein, usually known as ‘LB’ by members of the Emory community, served as the main avenue of support for hundreds of students and allies seeking support regarding sexual violence during her time at Emory.

According to an email to the Emory community from Director of the Office of Health Promotion Heather Zesiger, Klein has supervised the Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA) and the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP).

SAPA is an effort to “create a supportive campus for sexual assault survivors,” according to the Organization’s website.

Klein was awarded the Unsung Heroine Award at the 2014 Women and Gender Awards, an annual award ceremony acknowledging women who have significantly impacted the Emory community.

The email also states that Klein had an “immense impact on Emory and our students. She will be missed and her new opportunity is Emory’s bittersweet loss.”
“[Klein] was a true advocate,” College senior and Co-President of Feminists in Action (FIA) Cara Ortiz said. “She helped FIA, ASAP and SAPA to work collaboratively toward common goals and always made sure our voices reached the administrative side of Emory.”

Klein will be continuing her graduate studies at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado – Denver.

She will take part in the Program on Gender-Based Violence.

According to an email to the Wheel, Klein wrote that the program strives to create leaders to end gender-based violence and focuses on integrating grassroots social justice work with sound administrative process.

“While I am excited for these next steps in my career, I will miss working with so many brilliant, intentional and passionate students, staff and faculty members,” Klein wrote.

Drew Rizzo, the Health Promotion Specialist for the Respect Program, will be leading prevention efforts and Zesiger will be coordinating the search for the second professional staff position in the Respect Program, Klein wrote.
“It has been a privilege to serve as the Assistant Director for the Respect Program in the Office of Health Promotion, and I’m proud to leave it in incredibly capable hands,” Klein wrote.

In an email to the Wheel, Zesiger wrote that advocacy and survivor support were 40 percent of Klein’s role and the Office of Health Promotion is working to fill that position.

The remainder of Klein’s responsibilities will be distributed among the existing staff as well as the new hire, if approved.

“A one-person service wasn’t sustainable – what if she got sick?” Zesiger wrote. “What if she went on vacation? Now, Counseling and Psychological Services will provide intake for the Respect program.”

The Office of Health Promotion needs time to conduct a national search as well as on-campus interviews, making sure they are held at times students are available to participate, according to Zesiger.

“If the best candidate has to relocate, that could delay the process even further,” Zesiger wrote. “But, it’s worth it to get the right person for the position.

–By Brandon Fuhr