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  • Writer's pictureHANNA BABEK & MICHAEL CURRAN

Alum Haley Sherman Appointed Project LASER Director

Haley Sherman (‘22) was hired on Jan. 9 as the director of Lasell’s Assault and Abuse Services and Education Response, also known as Project LASER. As project director, Sherman works to develop violence prevention efforts primarily consisting of trainings for students and awareness events. Photo courtesy of Haley Sherman

Haley Sherman (‘22) was hired on Jan. 9 as the director of Lasell’s Assault and Abuse Services and Education Response, also known as Project LASER. As project director, Sherman works to develop violence prevention efforts primarily consisting of trainings for students and awareness events.


Sherman originally took an interest in Title IX work during her first year on campus. “When I was here for undergrad, I took domestic violence as a class my freshman year, and I just absolutely loved it. I was originally a psychology major. I ended up becoming a double major in psychology and criminal justice,” Sherman said. 


She cited Karin Raye, who was an assistant professor of justice studies and worked in multiple faculty roles for 15 years, as the mentor who inspired her to pursue it as a career. 


“Professor Karin Raye, who isn't at Lasell anymore, was like my idol. I was in her directed study, I was a Title IX intern,” Sherman said. “I did everything that I could that this school had to offer for domestic and sexual violence prevention. And so I ended up turning it into a career.”


Sherman’s new role primarily focuses on implementing the three year Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Grant to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Program


During Sherman’s senior year, Raye applied for the grant and was rejected. This year, Chief of Staff and General Counsel Jennifer OKeeffe and Director of Compliance and Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator Maryrose Anthes reapplied for and were awarded the grant. This year, the school received $400,000. 


"Essentially, the grant allows us to build a survivor-centered coordinated community response team that responds holistically to cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking on Lasell's campus while also further developing prevention and education programming and events,” Sherman said. 


According to Anthes, Sherman’s position was developed with the guidance of the Department of Justice to focus on violence prevention and awareness programming. “We know that students rely on other students for support coping with trauma, so want to be sure there is an advocate ready to work with student survivors,” Anthes said. 


Because of this, Sherman emphasized the importance of creating and maintaining a support system for survivors on campus. 


“So the goal of this is to essentially be very, very survivor-focused and support survivors through whatever they want, whatever their options are. We can do Title IX. We can go to the police. We can do nothing. You can heal on your own, in your own process. We can do counseling. It's totally up to them,” Sherman said. 


A future resource for students made possible through the grant will take the form of someone in the role of victim advocate. Sherman herself cannot do any victim services work directly, meaning that she cannot work with survivors. Because of this, she will hire a victim advocate, who will be entirely focused on helping survivors by supporting them to navigate systems that may be difficult or retraumatizing to process alone. 


The first year of Project LASER is a planning process. Sherman is creating a team named the “Core Seven,” consisting of campus police and internal and external partners, including Beyond Reach Domestic Violence and New England Wellesley Hospital. The team will travel to conferences and create a plan for the program during this year, and the following two years will mark the beginning of the implementation process. 


“This whole first year that I'm here, you are probably not going to hear a lot from me. I'll go to different events to introduce myself, but then we really get up and running in 2025. Because everything we have, everything we do, everything that I want to put out into Lasell’s campus has to be approved by the government,” Sherman said. 


As the project gets further underway in 2025, Sherman will take over the prevention programming that the Title IX office currently does. Events such as White Ribbon Week and Take Back the Night will fall under Project LASER, with Sherman at the forefront.

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