Undocumented Student Liaison in Safer

Zulema Aleman Cal Poly
Zulema Aleman


During a recent internship, Women’s and Gender Studies minor Zulema Aleman (Psychology, '17) (she/her) created a new position to better serve undocumented students  – the undocumented student liaison in Safer. Safer is Cal Poly’s confidential advocacy, education and support resource for addressing sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.

The new position is designed to:

  • Increase awareness of Safer staff and volunteers about the experiences and issues that are unique to undocumented survivors.
  • Identify best practices and resources available to support survivors who are undocumented – at Cal Poly, on the Central Coast and at the state and national levels.

As described by Aleman, “The goal is to empower Safer staff and volunteers to serve as a resource for undocumented survivors.”

According to the Tahirih Justice Center, immigrant women are two times more likely to experience domestic violence than the general population in the United States. A majority of these experiences occur after immigration.            

To create a new training for staff and volunteers in Safer that centers the experiences of undocumented survivors, Aleman drew from her personal experiences, knowledge from courses in women’s and gender studies, and her undergraduate research on the stories of undocumented Latinas who are survivors of intimate partner violence on the Central Coast of California. This research was recently published in Volume 10 of Sprinkle: an undergraduate journal of feminist and queer studies.

In July 2017, Aleman began a new position as a full-time, 12-month CSU STEM VISTA AmeriCorps volunteer at Cal Poly who is 100 percent focused on supporting undocumented students at our university.

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