SAPAC director to leave University in February

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 4:50pm

After serving the University of Michigan for seven years, Holly Rider-Milkovich, the director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, announced on Jan. 13 she is stepping down from her position.

SAPAC, a University entity, trains students to act as a peer network for survivors of sexual assault on campus and further aims to advocate for social change by offering professional services, such as counseling and crisis hotlines, for the campus community. During her tenure as director, the University was placed under Title IX investigation, and the sexual assault policy was updated.

In an email interview with the Daily, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald wrote Rider-Milkovich contributed greatly in bringing sexual misconduct to the forefront of University discussion.

“Holly Rider-Milkovich has been director of the U-M Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center since 2010,” Fitzgerald wrote. “During her time on campus, U-M has emerged as a vanguard institution, leading the country with a visible and significant commitment to comprehensive approach to sexual misconduct prevention and response. We are deeply grateful for her many contributions and we wish her well with this new opportunity.”

In an email to SAPAC employees, Rider-Milkovich wrote she will begin her new role as the Senior Director of Prevention for EverFi, an educational technology innovator that works to empower students and adult learners with experience that will aid them in attaining success, on Feb. 5.

At EverFi, she plans to launch the Campus Prevention Network, a nationwide initiative to join institutions that have expressed their high-level commitments to preventing health and safety issues on their campuses.

Rider-Milkovich wrote in the email she plans to take the skills she developed at SAPAC and use them to communicate the importance of sexual assault prevention to a wider audience.

“My job now will be to take the lessons we have learned together and scale them up to the widest possible platform so that students at schools that don't have the capacity or resources of a SAPAC (or U-M) might still benefit from the most effective prevention work in the field,” Rider-Milkovich wrote. “This decision has been one of the most difficult of my career; it is tough to leave a job you know and love for one with great promise and a lot of unknowns.”

LSA senior Elizabeth Nesbitt, who serves as a SAPAC event coordinator, said she is confident Rider-Milkovich will continue to succeed in her new position. She also added SAPAC will continue to serve the student body as they transition to new leadership.

“I am so grateful to Holly for her work for SAPAC during her time as Director,” Nesbitt said. “Although it is sad to see her go, I know she'll be doing wonderful work in her next position. SAPAC will continue to serve the University as it has and I'm excited to see where it heads with a new director.”

Rider-Milkovich noted SAPAC’s services will continue uninterrupted, even through the careful process of hiring a new Director.

“Vice President Harper is carefully considering how to implement the best leadership support for SAPAC, in consultation with me and the rest of the professional staff, while a new Director is being hired,” Rider-Milkovich wrote. “Rest assured that student voices will play an important role in the hiring processes. Also, please know that your groups, our programs, and SAPAC's services to survivors will continue forward without disruption.”