Penn Violence Prevention Director Jessica Mertz has been named the new executive director of the Clery Center, an organization that works to eliminate violence on college campuses across the country.
Mertz has served as Penn's director of sexual violence prevention since Penn Violence Prevention was established in 2014. She first came to Penn as a violence prevention educator in 2009, and she became associate director of the Penn Women’s Center in 2010.
The Clery Center provides guidance to college and university administrators on how to comply with the Clery Act, a law that aims to provide transparency around campus safety statistics. Mertz will begin her new role as executive director on May 13, 2019, according to a press release from the Center.
“It’s an honor to join an organization that has established itself as a thoughtful and innovative leader in higher education. I am excited to build on the collaborative work of Clery Center and to look to the future of creating safe campus communities,” Mertz said in the press release.
During her time at Penn, Mertz worked closely with student groups, establishing the Anti-Violence Engagement Network to unite groups working to improve the culture around sexual assault prevention. She also spoke at Penn's annual Take Back the Night rally against sexual violence on April 4.
“As Clery Center continues to grow, Jessica’s comprehensive understanding of the needs of colleges and universities regarding campus safety will be invaluable, particularly at such an important moment of national dialogue around issues such as sexual assault and hazing,” Roger Carolin, chair of the Clery Center board of directors, said in the press release.
Vice Provost for University Life spokesperson Monica Yant Kinney wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian that Mertz will serve as the director of Penn Violence Prevention until the end of the current academic year, adding that a search for a new director will begin after Mertz's departure.