In 2021, Merced College was awarded the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Grant to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking.  The OVW Campus Grant Program is a three-year grant that will primarily focus on prevention programming, but it will also strengthen victim services and help to provide trauma-informed training for key faculty and staff. 

Through this grant, Merced College established the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Program.  All activities of the RSVP Program are governed by a Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) and funded by the Campus Grant.

Mission Statement of the CCRT

We are a multidisciplinary collaboration of educators, allies, and advocates committed to creating a campus culture that is free of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  Through research-informed education, we seek to empower our students and community to prevent individual instances of these crimes whether they occur in person or online. We also aim to create a unified and survivor-centered response that protects the dignity of everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable. 

CCRT membership is always open – if you are interested in joining the CCRT, please email [email protected].

Grant Focus Areas 

Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT)  

Chair: Carissa Hansford, RSVP Program Manager / Project Director

Prevention Education 

Chair: Estelina Jones, Director, DSPS and Special Programs

This subcommittee offers year-round prevention and awareness programming including new student orientation, events during domestic and sexual violence months, and bystander training for faculty, staff, and students.  

Law Enforcement 

Chair: Tanner Greene, Officer, Merced College Campus Police

This subcommittee hosts law enforcement training seminars on various topics related to preventing and addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on college campuses. Under this committee, plans are developed to ensure continuing police officer training on the most up-to-date best practices. 

Student Conduct 

Chair: Dr. Mike McCandless, Vice President of Student Services

This subcommittee supports the training of all participants in the disciplinary process, including members of campus disciplinary boards and investigators, to respond effectively to situations involving domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Training topics must include, but not be limited to information about the causes and effects of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; a review of the student conduct code; an appropriate range of sanctions; definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; the ways victims respond to trauma; neurobiology of trauma; tactics of offenders; information on the issue of consent in sexual assault cases; how to judge credibility; and alcohol and drug-facilitated sexual assault. 

Victim Services  

Chair: Riley Fette, Valley Crisis Center

This subcommittee partners with community and/or campus victim service providers to develop the referral process, and response protocols, and ensure 24-hour access to confidential victim services are accessible to the campus community. 

Student Advisory Council

Chair: open

An independent body of Merced College students that gives formal feedback to the CCRT.

CCRT Leadership

  • Mike McCandless, VP, Student Services 
  • Jose Serena, Dean, Student Equity and Success 
  • Estelina Jones, Director, DSPS and Special Programs 
  • Pana Lee, Campus Coordinator, Valley Crisis Center 
  • Brooke Simpson Boeding, Dean, Student Services 
  • Officer Tanner Greene, Campus Police 
  • Det. Cruz Jasso, Merced City Police 
  • Carissa Hansford, Manager, Sexual Violence Prevention Program
Meet the Project Director

The Project Director’s primary role is to oversee the project through the planning and implementation phases of the grant, coordinate the work of the CCR Team, and ensure the project achieves its stated goals. Please contact Carissa Hansford at 209-384-6146 or [email protected].

Project Director


The RSVP Program is a coordinated community approach to reducing sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking at Merced College.  

The RSVP Program is funded by a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. 

The grant offers funding for three years of operation. Merced College received the grant in October of 2021.  The first year is a planning year, the second year is the implementation of planned programming and training sessions, and the third year is continued implementation, assessment, and revision. 

The target audience includes Merced College students, staff, and faculty.  All incoming students will complete mandatory prevention and education programming.  Bystander intervention training will also be available for all students, faculty, and staff.

The RSVP Program manager is funded through the grant. 

The grant has four minimum requirements. They are as follows: 

  • Create a coordinated community response (CCR) including both organizations external to the institution and relevant divisions of the institution. 
  • Establish a mandatory prevention and education program about sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking for all incoming and support and promote bystander intervention training for all students. 
  • Train all campus law enforcement to respond effectively to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. 
  • Train all members of campus disciplinary boards to respond effectively to situations involving sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. 

Please contact Carissa Hansford at [email protected] or 209-384-6146.