Sac State hires second confidential advocate for sexual assault support

Major changes being made to WEAVE this semester


Cristian Gonzalez

The WEAVE headquarters located in Midtown on March 14, 2023. With Sacramento State hiring a second advocate, the current advocate will work remotely in Midtown while the new advocate works on campus.

Justine Chahal

Editor’s Note: The State Hornet has decided not to include a photo of Madeline Hamill in order to protect her confidentiality.

In the wake of numerous reported sexual assaults, Sacramento State has hired a new confidential advocate to support students in collaboration with WEAVE, a non-profit organization that specializes in providing resources to survivors.

Madeline Hamill, the second confidential advocate, has been with WEAVE for a year and previously fulfilled a similar role at Cal Maritime. Although she has prior experience, Hamill said she came to Sac State with the belief that no one has learned as much as they will ever learn. 

“This is a bigger campus, but it is a really awesome opportunity to get really connected with a new community,” Hamill said. “I’m really excited for the opportunity and the privilege to be able to immerse myself here.”

Laura Swartzen, the current WEAVE advocate and a Sac State alumnae, said she was involved in the hiring process. According to her, Hamill has helped her in the past at WEAVE. 

“When we were looking for someone, that connection has to be good,” Swartzen said. “It has to work both ways and we have to find the right person for the job. I think we’re really proud to say we have.”

WEAVE is also currently in the process of hiring an additional advocate, according to Swartzen. She said she has been promoted as a manager within WEAVE’s prevention and education team, providing support to both Sac State and other WEAVE advocates throughout the community. 

My role here is to support survivors and, while circumstances around campus environment may change, my role stays the same.

— Madeline Hamill

Hamill said while everybody has been accepting of her new role, she understands that this change may cause some students to feel hesitant approaching her.

“I really like to assure people that the best level of support for survivors is still being offered,” Hamill said. “I have all the resources, including Laura, in my back pocket. People can rest assured knowing there is no lapse in support.”

Although Swartzen is now in a managerial role, she said she will still be working as an advocate until a secondary individual is hired at Sac State. However, Hamill said she is currently the only advocate on campus operating from The WELL while Swartzen works over the phone at WEAVE’s headquarters in Midtown Sacramento. 

One advocate will be stationed in The WELL at the Student Health and Counseling Center while the other advocate, who will be hired soon according to Swartzen, will be located at American River Courtyard in North Village according to  Swartzen. She said while the two advocates will be located in different points across campus, their roles will effectively be the same aside from the connections they are forming at their respective locations.

“We will definitely be interchangeable — but trying to maintain that balance between interchangeable — but also accessible,” Swartzen said. 

Dan Carsel, director of health services, said the target date for the North Village office’s construction is April 17. 

According to Hamill, she is currently unsure if she will remain at The WELL’s Urgent Care office or be moved to North Village. 

As a part of her training, Hamill familiarized herself with the campus safety plan, which Swartzen helped to develop, and attended meetings surrounding the action plan, she said. 

“All of that is really important to note when we’re thinking about survivors at the center of our work and so making sure that she has a full understanding of all the resources and campus connections that we have is is vital,” Swartzen said. “That’s probably one of our first training checkboxes.”

Swartzen added that an important part of the training included building connections on campus. One of these connections includes working with Student Health and Counseling. Lara Falkenstein, Associate Director of Health and Wellness, said WEAVE is an integral part of Student Health services. 

“We do a lot of our outreach and education with [the confidential advocate],” Falkenstein said. “Our staff communicate with them with the providers so they’re pretty integrated within our health center.”

Swartzen said the new advocate has also been briefed on the culture of Sac State, including the sexual assaults which happened last semester.

“My role here is to support survivors and, while circumstances around campus environment may change, my role stays the same,” Hamill said. “I’m here to support wherever I can in the best way possible, so I’m here to show up for survivors.”

WEAVE can be contacted via phone at 916-278-5850 and by email at [email protected].