Debbie Artis (center), the director of UCR's Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office, was awarded the Professional Advocate of the Year award by the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center in recognition of her work as a liaison between UCR and RARCC. Pictured with Artis is her daughter, Melissa (left) and RARCC Director of Programs Debora Monroe-Heaps. Photo courtesy or RARCC
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Debbie Artis, the director of the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office at the University of California, Riverside and a long-time volunteer with the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center (RARCC) has been recognized as that organization’s Professional Advocate of the Year at their annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner on Thursday, July 10, 2014.
“Debbie has been a long-term supporter of our agency, connecting and solidifying our relationship with UC Riverside. She has been a great conduit, providing the best possible services to the survivors of sexual assault,” said RARCC Director of Programs Debora Monroe-Heaps, who nominated her for the award.
Founded in 1973, the non-profit RARCC has served as a resource for the survivors of sexual assault and their families. The need is tremendous, as an estimated one-in-five college-age women experience some sort of sexual assault during their time in school, and one-in-three women overall are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. The center’s services are free of charge, thanks in part to the efforts of the volunteers.
“Volunteers are the backbone of our organization, and this dinner is our opportunity to thank the members of the community who have helped us,” Monroe-Heaps said.
Artis worked at the RARCC for seven years before joining UC Riverside’s Women’s Resource Center in 1997 as the education coordinator/campus advocate for victims of sexual assault. In 2003 she was appointed the interim Title IX director in the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office and in 2004 she became the director of the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office.
She has continued to volunteer with the RARCC throughout her UCR career, serving on their board of directors from 2005 to 2010. She is currently a member of the advisory committee, providing professional support, information, collaboration and advice to the organization.
“My involvement with RARCC allows me to be a part of the solution,” Artis said. “I provide professional advice and support to RARCC staff; they can call me about client, family or campus concerns. And if I need professional advice and support involving a member of the UCR family, I can call RARCC.”
Artis said she was humbled by the honor, adding that she volunteers to help counter the negative impact that sexual violence brings to the campus and surrounding community.
“I serve as a volunteer at RARCC to make a difference, to help build positive campus and community connections toward reducing the risk of sexual violence,” she said. “I do everything I can to ensure that UCR and RARCC stay connected.”
Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Excellence and Equity Yolanda Moses said that Artis was deserving of the award.
“Debbie is a passionate champion for justice and for the rights of women and men who have victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Moses said. “She is the embodiment of all those things we want in a caring professional. I am so proud of her and all that she has accomplished.”