Pomona’s Campus Advocates guide students in spotting relationship red flags

Multiple red flags are stuck on the ground.
Pomona College’s Campus Advocates hosted a Red Flag event at Walker Hall Thursday evening. (Nanako Noda • The Student Life)

Have you walked by the grassy lawns of Pomona College’s Smith Campus Center or the walkways along Marston Quad this week and noticed bright red flags jutting out of the grass?

The Campus Advocates at Pomona have some answers.

As a part of their recent campaign to highlight the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships, students from Campus Advocates hosted a Red Flag event at Walker Hall Thursday evening. 

In collaboration with Peer Educators, Women’s Union, EmPOWER Center and the Pomona Events Committee, the event screened an episode of “Love Taps” to help students identify red flags in abusive relationships and learn how to intervene with the resources provided on campus.

Madeline Asch PO ’23 has been an advocate since her sophomore year and shared what she hopes the community takes away from the campaign. 

“We would love for people to end this week with more awareness about the existence of abusive relationships, including what happens on our college campus,” Asch said via email. 

Asch said the campaign has been positively received by the Pomona community this week.

“We’ve had multiple individuals reach out to us to express gratitude that we’re spreading awareness about unhealthy relationships and have definitely gotten people talking in general,” she added.

An advocate since her first year, Mandisa Keswa PO ’22 said she hopes attendees leave the event with new or enhanced knowledge about how they should react when faced with unhealthy relationships or situations with partner violence. 

There’s a heightened importance of making sure students are aware of how to confront unhealthy relationships due to the residential living system at the Claremont Colleges, Keswa added in an email. 

“Living in such close quarters, we hope to foster accountability to strengthen campus climate, and on an individual level, we hope that our fellow peers know what kind of treatment they deserve,” Keswa said. 

Keswa also stressed the importance of knowing that identifying red and green flags are just “the first step before action is taken, and we should be holding space to identify these signs.”

Looking forward, Keswa said the Campus Advocates aim to continue their ongoing workshop called “How to Support a Friend” in the upcoming spring semester. The workshop’s main objective is to make sure students are prepared to support their friends with a plan in place to address unhealthy or abusive situations. The plan offers steps to initiate a conversation and how to listen without judgement. 

Campus Advocates also offers “Self Care Sundays” events to provide a safe space for survivors and offer wellness activities. 

As to what she hopes is the main takeaway from the event, Asch said students should
“remember that they can come to the Campus Advocates to receive support surrounding these types of issues.”

Campus Advocates “have the legal privilege of confidentiality to best support survivors who come to us,” Keswa said. The group runs a 24/7 hotline affiliated with Project Sister, a local rape crisis center, and holds periodic drop in hours throughout the week in the Heart Center on the second floor of Walker.

For more information on Campus Advocates, visit their website or call their hotline at 909-626-4357. The EmPOWER Center has contact information for each 5C’s Advocates at 7csupportandprevention.com.

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