Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
We continue our series of dean profiles today with Dean Karen Henry ’87. In her role as the Gender Education Advisor, her presence on campus is especially important during this week of The Clothesline Project, and students are encourage to seek her out for support.
Name: Karen Henry
Position: Assistant Dean and Gender Education Advisor
What exactly does that mean?
I primarily work with students in reducing the likelihood of sexual misconduct…and support survivors of sexual misconduct. I coordinate the SMART (Sexual Misconduct Advisors and Resource Team) team, which is a group of folks I’ve trained to support students. I also work with ASAP (Acquaintance Sexual Assault Prevention) and the WRC, the Women’s Resource Center. And then I do deanly things—student discipline, general misconduct, meeting with students who are having academic difficulty—the dean stuff.
When should a student come to see you?
Students come to see me over a range of issues. From something that happened that they were uncomfortable about, sexual assault, domestic violence…I give students a range of options on how to resolve the issues: going through the College’s judicial system, contacting the police, or nothing. If the student chooses to do nothing, I support them to do nothing. A lot of students just come because they just want to talk about what happened and get some support. I provide them with that kind of support.
Who should they contact to meet you?
They can see my administrative assistant [Betsy Durning, x5744, in Parrish 140]—she’s there at all times so I think that’s a little easier—or send me emails.
What’s an interesting, little-known fact about you?
Well, most people already know this about me, but I have three small children, a six-year old and a set of twins that are three and a half. I’m an alum, ’87. And I was born and raised in Philadelphia.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
I’d like to be a panda bear. Because they’re big and fluffy. And cute.
I think that before coming back to Swat I did a lot of work with women, especially those with HIV. So when I heard about the position, it felt natural to work at a place I knew, and to bring back the experience I gained from Swarthmore.