Podcasts | Women Who Protect

Making it Easier to Have Conversations About Mental Health and Victimization on Campus

Content Warning: This episode contains content pertaining to sexual assault, which some may find difficult to listen to. This episode is not recommended for young children.

While we often hear that it is important to be able to have discussions about mental health, addiction, and victimization, it can be incredibly difficult to do so. Talking about your own experience with mental health challenges, physical abuse or sexual assault, or addiction can feel incredibly stigmatizing and isolating. This is why Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President of Campus Safety Operations at New York University (NYU), has made it part of her mission in campus safety to make it easier to have those conversations – and to connect people with resources that can help. Ortman spent the first part of her career investigating horrific crimes and has spent the second half transforming campus safety at NYU to foster better support and resources for the people they serve.

Within the Department of Campus Safety, Karen supervises over 300 personnel in Security Services, Support Services, Incident Review & Victim Services, External Affairs, Events and Lost and Found. She is also chair of NYU’s Behavioral Intervention Team. Prior to NYU, Karen served for over 25 years in law enforcement with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, located in Trenton, New Jersey.

In this episode, Karen discusses the following topics with host Dr. Marisa Randazzo:

  • The scope of her role in campus safety operations
  • The mental toll of working in the Division of Criminal Justice for the state of New Jersey and lesser-known biases she observed
  • The evolution of NYU’s victim services unit
  • Advice for women and girls entering the protection space

Karen is also the creator and host of the NYU podcast You Matter!, a podcast created to provide resources to listeners, and to remove the stigma from conversations related to mental health, addiction and victimization.