Feature Story: UCO Project SPEAK

Aschley Melson, project SPEAK coordinator

TW/CW: sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence

Sexual violence on college campuses is pervasive. However, help is available. 

According to RAINN.org, an anti-sexual violence organization:

  • 13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).1
  • Among graduate and professional students, 9.7% of females and 2.5% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.1
  • Among undergraduate students, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.1
  • 5.8% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.1

Project SPEAK

Project SPEAK is a UCO program funded by the Office of Violence Against Women that seeks to spread knowledge and develop a campus culture that fosters healthy relationships. Through awareness and education, UCO community members will not condone violence or victim-blaming but will provide an environment that is conducive to every faculty, staff and student’s success.

Project SPEAK supports students, staff and faculty and assesses their needs for FREE and in a confidential manner. Project SPEAK promotes awareness through campus-wide events and in-class presentations about domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Project SPEAK provides advocacy and strives to always assist everyone at UCO in a non-judgmental and compassionate demeanor. We help those that have lost their voice to find their voice again. We empower them to SPEAK and break the silence.

Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT)

Project SPEAK coordinator, Aschley Melson, leads the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT) in the UCO campus community and the mission of the team is to,

“…change college culture by working together to provide safe spaces, bring awareness and education on gender-based violence and sexual misconduct, and promote healthy relationships for all faculty, staff and students. Through our commitment of implementing education, awareness, and accountability, we create a much safer, inclusive and healthy campus that is supportive of all UCO community members.”

The CCRT are a broad and inclusive and inclusive group of students, faculty, staff and community partners that serve as ambassadors between the Project SPEAK program and the UCO Campus Community. Additionally, the CCRT is a group that continues to anticipate and respond to the unique needs of our UCO campus community.

If you would like to join the CCRT or check out one of our meetings, email projectspeak@uco.edu. Meetings are held every third Thursday of the month in Thatcher Hall RM 343.

How can Project SPEAK Help You?

Project SPEAK informs UCO students, faculty and staff that have experienced interpersonal violence or some form of violence of all the services that are available to them and assists them in exploring the possible options to pursue. 

The staff will advocate for the individual as much, or as little, as they choose. Project SPEAK collaborates with agencies and partners to provide referrals to:

  • obtain a VPO (Victims Protective Order)
  • obtain counseling & additional support services
  • file a no contact order
  • file a police report on or off campus
  • assist in relocation within the dorms
  • assist with student conduct process
  • address academic concerns
  • work to get class schedule changes if needed 

Student’s Choice

It is every student’s right whether they want to report an incident to a confidential or non-confidential source. Depending on your position on campus, you may or may not have to report sexual misconduct that has been disclosed to you. It is important to let students know of your reporting responsibilities and refer them to confidential sources if they are choosing to not report an incident.  If you are unsure of your reporting responsibilities, you can read more about confidential and non-confidential sources below:

Confidential Source

Those on campus who studnets can confide in and by law they do not have to report the incident to Title IX.

Confidential Sources on Campus:

Project SPEAK
  • projectspeak@uco.edu
UCO Center for Counseling and Well-Being
  • NUC 402
  • 405-974-2215
UCO Psychology Clinic
  • EDU 307
  • 405-974-2758

What is a non-confidential source?

All UCO employees, that are not Project SPEAK staff, counselors, pastors and para-professional counselors are responsible for reporting all details of sexual misconduct to the Title IX office.

Individuals may choose confidentiality from the Title IX coordinator, if they wish to make a report without revealing identifying information.

Non-confidential sources include:

UCO Title IX
  • 405-974-5321
  • Elogan4@uco.edu
UCO Police
  • 405-974-2345


Project SPEAK conducts Broncho Bystander trainings to various campus groups including student organizations, athletics, classrooms and many others.  Broncho Bystander Training teaches students, faculty and staffto become an active bystander and learn techniques of how to intervene. If you would like to request a bystander training, please contact projectspeak@uco.edu.

For any additional information contact projectspeak@uco.edu or Project SPEAK Coordinator, Aschley Melson at aramjak@uco.edu.

1David Cantor, Bonnie Fisher, Susan Chibnall, Reanna Townsend, et. al. Association of American Universities (AAU), Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (January 17, 2020)