Meet CBU’s Sexual Violence Prevention Response Advocate, Sonya Spencer

After graduating from Holland College’s Atlantic Police Academy and serving 13 years as a police officer, Sonya Spencer was drawn to CBU by an offer for a fresh start. When she got the call in 2017, her son was just three years old, and Sonya felt it was the perfect time to change lanes and begin her career at the University as Manager of Security Services. 

During her early days at CBU, Sonya juggled not only her new career and young family but also studying after hours to earn her Bachelor of Arts Community Studies. Now, after six years at CBU, Sonya has combined her vast experience to take on the new role of Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Advocate (SVPRA). 

Before taking on the role, Sonya had already worked with various colleagues at the University to create CBU’s updated Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy. She knew her knowledge and passion made her the right person for the job. “I understood it was imperative the right person be in this role if it was to be effective,” says Sonya. “I had helped develop the policy and knew it inside and out. I worked with previous files and knew first-hand the issues this role would need to address.” 

The role of the SVPRA is first and foremost to support survivors and help them determine their options moving forward. Other duties of Sonya’s role include educating the campus community on topics such as sexual violence and consent. She also serves as an advocate, ensuring processes are followed and all employees are acting in a survivor-centric way that promotes a culture of consent on campus.

Sonya says her dream is to eliminate any and all sexual violence in the community. “That isn’t something one person can do on their own, so my personal goal is to help get us closer to that reality,” she shares. “Really, day-to-day my goal is to support those who have experienced sexual violence to get the resources they need. Increasing reporting and holding people accountable is great, but at the end of the day it comes down to supporting those who have experienced sexual violence.” 

Sonya wants those hesitant or fearful to reach out to know they are not required to share every detail of their experience. Connecting with the SVPRA only means a discussion will be held to address potential ways to move forward after an incident. Throughout the years, Sonya has learned that some international students in particular are fearful that reporting an incident could impact their visa or future residency. She wants students to know this is not the case.

Sonya has a very strong but positive message to share with the CBU community. “We can’t address issues we don’t know about,” she says. “We need to know what is going on. So please, disclose it to me. You can even disclose anonymously online, but please let us know.”

To learn more about the SVPRA or the Sexual Violence Prevention Policy, please visit our web page. 

To report an incident, please contact Sonya at or 902-565-5328. Reports can also be made online at