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Students Helping Students

Peer Educators Work to "Stop the Hate"

R.E.A.C.H. Program Sponsors a Week of Events

(January 24, 2006)

This week, thirteen UC Riverside students are making their debut in a brand new role. They are volunteer peer educators for R.E.A.C.H. (Reaching for Education, Affirmation, Community and Harmony), a program designed to promote awareness of hate bias related incidents/crimes, sexual violation and violence, hazing and academic integrity.

The new peer educators are having their first campus event; “Stop the Hate” week, January 23 through January 27, 2006, which features a series of events designed to educate students about hate bias. The five day program features a week-long educational display, a poetry slam event, an “I Want to Stop the Hate” art event, and a screening of the documentary, “Licensed to Kill,” an uncompromising investigation into the roots of anti-gay violence.

R.E.A.C.H. is the brain child of Susan Allen Ortega, UCR’s Dean of Students. She says the campus needed a program to help students understand the boundaries and expectations of campus life. “We were seeing more incidents of hazing, for example, without students knowing that the behavior was problematic. Students needed to know what to do and what not to do before problems arise.”

Ortega hired Jennifer Miller last July as the student development educator in the Dean of Students Office. Miller felt a peer run program was the best way to approach the sensitive issues R.E.A.C.H is targeting because, “It’s more likely to be accepted and credible if it’s run for and by students,” Miller says. Last fall, she put out a call for volunteers and selected 14 students (who ranged from freshmen to 2nd year graduate students) to launch the R.E.A.C.H. effort.

Linda Maximo, a UCR senior majoring in Women’s Studies is one of the peer educators. She joined R.E.A.C.H. because she felt there needed to be an accessible way for students to get help. “I was the victim of a form of sexual violence a ways back and I didn’t want it to happen to anyone else. People on campus don’t have the information,” Maximo says. “Since it’s peer to peer it’s easier for students to talk to us.”

Miller says the events sponsored by R.E.A.C.H. have been developed by the students, “they selected the hate/violence area to go first. It’s important the students design everything on board.”

Three more weeks of events are scheduled this semester to spotlight other R.E.A.C.H. target areas:

  • Hazing Awareness, February 20th — 24th

  • Sexual Violation/Violence, April 10th — 14th

  • Academic Integrity, May 1st -5th
For specific information about “Stop the Hate” week events or R.E.A.C.H. programs go to:

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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