|Public Safety Dept. Will Lock Up Local Celebrities To Raise Funds for Domestic Violence Shelter
March 29, 2012
By Emily Matras '12
Local Davidson celebrities will soon get a chance to further their positive impact on the community - from behind bars! On Wednesday, April 4, Davidson College will host "Lock-Up to Lock Out Domestic Violence," an event to raise funds for construction of a new United Family Services domestic violence shelter in Charlotte. Prominent Davidson College and community members have volunteered to participate by spending hard time in a makeshift jail constructed in the college's Alvarez College Union Atrium. From that cell they will place calls to friends, obtaining pledges of "bail" that will benefit the UFS shelter project.
The jailbirds will be "arrested" between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at home or work. A Davidson College or Town police officer will escort them to the Union, where they can relax in overstuffed chairs and enjoy a massage and complementary lunch while placing calls for donations to earn their release.
The fundraiser was the idea of Davidson College Police Chief Adrienne Murray, who saw United Family Services' needs as a call to action. UFS's current 29-bed facility is often filled to capacity. Murray said, "There are domestic violence victims in our community ready to escape their situations, but there's nowhere for them to go."
The new shelter will provide emergency and transitional housing as well as education and job training, childcare and other services to help victims.
Murray's experience with domestic violence issues spurred her interest in supporting the shelter's construction. She began her career about 15 years ago with the City of Richmond, Va., Police Department and worked with the forensics team, where she observed that two-thirds of homicide cases are domestically related. "Everyone thinks that domestic violence happens to other people, but it's an issue that transcends racial, economic and social divisions," said Murray. "We have to be talking about this more. You don't just turn 30 and get into an abusive relationship. It's so much more common than we think, usually starting in middle and high school. By remaining silent we do each other a huge disservice."
Murray has been working closely with the Town of Davidson Police Chief Jeanne Miller to ensure community participation in the upcoming fundraiser. The roster of local celebrities to be locked up includes Davidson College bigwigs like Dean of Students Tom Shandley and SGA President Billy Hackenson, and Davidson Mayor John Woods.
Murray hopes the event will raise $5,000, but she stresses that every little bit helps. "I've had people jokingly ask me, ‘How much money can I give you to lock up my boss all day?'" she said. "But our aim is to have each locked-up celebrity raise just $100 to earn their release."
No matter how much they raise, inmates will be released after serving one hour behind bars.
Murray's focus on town-gown cooperation seems especially apt in light of the college's campus-wide theme of "Civic Engagement" this year. "We can make an impact right here in our local community," she said. "We have a chance to bring the community and the college together through this event."
The fundraiser is sponsored by the Davidson College Public Safety Department, the Civic Engagement Council, and the Upsilon Mu chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Peter Kelpin '12, chair of the Civic Engagement Council, views the fundraiser as the perfect way to fulfill the council's function on campus. He said, "We focus on helping students answer questions like ‘What does it mean to be engaged in this community?' and ‘How do we become engaged?' This fundraiser answers those questions in an interesting way because it works on two levels. Not only is it philanthropic work for a worthy organization, but it's also advocacy about an issue that our own students could be struggling with."
To participate in the Lock-Up to Lock Out Domestic Violence fundraiser as an "inmate," contact Chief Adrienne Murray at 704-894-2915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.