AdvoCats discouraged from discussing controversial topics on tour – The Vermont Cynic

Editor’s Note: Some sources in this article have been given pseudonyms to protect their identity for reasons of job security and wanting to keep survivor status private.

In order to promote the University, the Admissions Office discourages AdvoCats from discussing in depth “difficult and difficult” topics, according to several AdvoCats and their training materials.

Some have said they are discouraged from bringing up sexual violence on tour, despite recent controversies. Several also said that they were disappointed that UVM presented itself as more durable than they actually thought.

AdvoCats are trained to redirect questions about sexual assault to counselors and other administrative officials if parents and students want more information, AdvoCat John said.

“The security section of the visit should start something like this,” the “Sensitive subjects and difficult situations” training site indicated. “Student health and safety is the number one priority here at UVM, this will be your home for the next four years and we make sure you always feel safe. ”

“I’ve been told many times not to put scripts in people’s minds, not to talk about them,” said AdvoCat Jess, who is a sexual assault survivor.

Jess said she plans to quit the AdvoCats program because it is an uncomfortable environment for her, she said.

AdvoCat training website asks tour guides to point out that sexual assault happens everywhere and UVM treats them differently and it is better to report cases.

The webpage does not provide any specific data on the handling of sexual assault by UVM compared to other universities.

If parents or students mention sexual assault while on tour, the “Sensitive subjects and difficult situations”, AdvoCat training web pages say “stay positive” and “less is more”.

Another tour stops outside the Davis Center on September 23. (Alexandra Bodelle)

“I think it’s really frustrating because UVM continues to fail survivors on so many different levels,” Jess said.

Jess said she believes information about the climate on the UVM campus is important to incoming students. She said she felt frustrated at not being able to provide this information.

The AdvoCat training manual stated information about the Blue Light system, the modules students complete before arriving on campus and UVM’s implementation of the LiveSafe app, but no specific mention of sexual assault prevention strategies from recent student requests.

Jay LaShombe, Senior Assistant Admissions Director, and Kayla Goldberg, Assistant Admissions Director and Tour Guide Program Coordinator, forwarded interview requests to Moses Murphy, Undergraduate Admissions Director.

Group visits are not an effective opportunity to unpack complex, difficult and detailed topics, ”said Murphy in an October 5 email. “In addition to providing personal financial aid information, AdvoCats are never required to avoid answering questions on specific topics.

Some AdvoCats agree with the protocol for conversations about sexual assault.

“This conversation is really important, but maybe not as good for an entire group,” AdvoCat Max said.

He said conversations about sexual assault can be facilitated in more personal settings with guidance counselors and other staff, if parents or students feel the need to discuss it.

AvoCats are also urged to steer their tour groups away from protests to avoid “distracting” visitors, according to the website. The training website also asks AdvoCats to say that UVM does not have forced triples, despite their existence on campus.

AdvoCat Susie expressed her disappointment with how UVM presents itself as sustainable. According to AdvoCat training manual, one of the four themes that tour guides should focus on throughout the tour is “Sustainability: Environmental Stewardship”.

“We’re supposed to be talking about how amazing UVM is, sustainable and green,” Susie said. “I’ve worked on the environmental aspects of things and I know what the sustainability aspect of school looks like, and that’s not all it’s supposed to be.

Susie said UVM is “green”, through its tools and promotional material.

AdvoCats have a choice in the design of their sustainability program at UVM, said Robert.

“I think [information given on tours] paints a pretty accurate picture of what’s happening on campus knowing that the student government is responsible for implementing many sustainability measures on campus, ”said Robert.

AdvoCats should never ignore an embarrassing conversation or question, but balance personal opinions with the opinions of the university, according to the AdvoCat training web page “Tricky Topics and Difficult Conversations”.

“At the end of the day, being an AdvoCat is marketing work,” said Susie.

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