Spotlight On: Haley Baum
Galloway, N.J. — Haley Baum, assistant vice president for Student Advocacy, Belonging & Campus Standards and dean of Students at Stockton University, wrote her dissertation research about the Clery Act several years ago with a photo of Jeanne Clery prominently on her desk.
Clery was a freshman at Lehigh University in 1986 when she was raped and killed in her campus dormitory. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report campus crime data, support victims of violence, and publicly outline the policies and procedures they have put into place to improve campus safety.
Baum, who has worked at Stockton for 12 years, spoke of the honor of meeting Jeanne's mother, Connie Clery, after her dissertation work.
When they met, Mrs. Clery asked Baum why she chose her daughter's memory of all the topics she could focus on. "I shared the dedication of my dissertation, which is inscribed to two people, my grandmother, and Jeanne. Mrs. Clery then shared some special moments and memories of Jeanne," Baum reflected. "I had always dreamed about what I would say if given a chance to express what this work means to me to the woman who has championed it for so many years, for so many students. And then it happened. That conversation remains one of the highlights of my life."
Recently, Baum was appointed to the inaugural Clery Center's National Advisory Council because of that work she did - a full circle moment, if you will.
When she learned she had been appointed, Baum felt grateful to be included among such a powerful and diverse group of thought leaders. "I'm even more excited to work together as we further the national conversation on the importance of prevention, education, connection, communication and intentionality around campus crime and safety," Baum shared. "I care deeply about making campuses safer for everyone. I care because someone cared for me first."
Being in the room or at the table on a national level to learn from others doing this work gives me access to new and innovative information and the opportunity to understand trends around college safety, victim advocacy, prevention, education and communication around these important topics.
Baum's passion for her work and the students at Stockton is quite evident. She and her team focus on creating conditions that matter for students to be successful. Those conditions and factors look different for each student and each situation.
"Our team seeks to create brave spaces where we can have difficult conversations that encourage and empower our students. Sometimes this includes talking through missteps or decisions that don't align with our success, sometimes this means talking to students about their own personal safety and decision making," Baum noted. "I believe these are deeply personal and important conversations that must start with building strong and solid relationships with our students. At its heart, the goal of the Clery Center is to make campuses safer for all. I would argue that you cannot be successful in any other aspect of campus life if you do not feel safe, if you do not feel seen, if you do not feel a sense of belonging."
Jeanne's photo remains on Baum's desk as a grounding reminder and guiding force, especially on challenging days. "I have the great privilege of seeing our students on their best days and the responsibility to care for them on their worst. I do not take this lightly. I believe so deeply in the transformative power of higher education, so to me, having the opportunity to work directly with our students and an amazing team of staff is a privilege in itself," Baum concluded.
Story and photo by Mandee McCullough