SU announces Vera House to hold weekly office hours for students

SU announces Vera House partnership

Representatives from Vera House will provide students with outside, confidential support and educate students on relationship and sexual violence.
Published: February 13, 2022
Barnes Center at the Arch
The east side entrance to the Barnes Center at Syracuse University.

For some Syracuse University students, speaking to a representative that’s not affiliated with the University can be more comfortable, and a new partnership between SU and Vera House seeks to meet this need.

SU and the Barnes Center announced the partnership with the domestic violence support group on Thursday, Feb. 3. Vera House is an off-campus confidential resource that provides support and advocacy services to those impacted by sexual and relationship violence, the University said in it’s announcment.

According to SU, representatives from Vera House will have weekly office hours for students at the Barnes Center on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in room 304.

Rachel Henderson, a campus educator and advocate with Vera House, said that she is working with two other colleagues on a rotating schedule for different Mondays.

According to Henderson, the partnership was formed after the Barnes Center reached out to Vera House and asked if they would like to come in. She said that Vera House has offered similar services at other schools, but this is the first time they are working with SU.

“This is just another way for students to make sure they can access our services, we recognize that even though our office isn’t too far away we see it’s not always feasible for students to get to us,” Henderson said.

The goal of the partnership is to allow students to reach and receive support, but also maintain confidentiality, Henderson said. Aside from support, Henderson said that these meetings also help educate students on sexual violence in addition to answering questions about Vera House.

Henderson said the partnership may also help students recognize possible signs of relationship violence.

“Sometimes we have students come in and say that they think they might be experiencing relationship violence and they just want to talk out what their experience is so we can work with them to decide what the next step for them is moving forward,” Henderson said.

Henderson said this program differs from similar initiatives at other schools in that it is completely unaffiliated with the university. She said their meetings with students are done so that they do not worry about potential reports being sent to the school.

“We’re not a part of SU and sometimes students need an outside agency and an outside perspective. It lets students speak to us on their terms,” Henderson said.