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24-Hour Crisis/Support Hotline: (615) 322-SAFE (7233)

About Us

The mission of the Project Safe Center is to provide information, support, referrals, and education about sexual and intimate partner violence (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking), as well as consent, healthy relationships, and healthy sexuality to the Vanderbilt University community. Project Safe serves as a central resource for those impacted by power-based personal violence and can assist with navigating the University’s resource and support network (including the University Counseling Center, Student Health, the Title IX and Student Discrimination Office, Equal Employment Opportunity, the Employee Assistance Program, and the Vanderbilt University Police Department), as well as external support and law enforcement resources.

In 2017, Vanderbilt University was recognized by the Campus Prevention Network with its Prevention Excellence Award, in recognition for Vanderbilt’s demonstrated commitment to the highest standards in sexual assault prevention. For the second year in a row, Project Safe has been named Campus Partner of the Year by Housing & Residential Education! The award recipient is selected by student Residential Education staff.

For more information on our prevention education programs, please review our 2017-18 Annual Prevention Education/Programming Report  and our 2016-17 Report.

Our staff include:

Cara Tuttle Bell, JD, MA

Cara Tuttle Bell has served as Director of the Project Safe Center since its founding in 2014. Cara previously served as the Associate Director for Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity at Vanderbilt University and as Director of Programs for the Women’s Center at Northwestern University. Cara holds a JD from Vanderbilt University Law School, Master of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville, and her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Ball State University, where she graduated summa cum laude. Cara was selected as the 2015 recipient of the Mary Jane Werthan Award, which is presented to a member of the Vanderbilt community who has contributed to the advancement of women at Vanderbilt on a systemic level. The award is named in honor of Mary Jane Werthan, the first woman member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. In 2016, Cara received the K.C. Potter Outstanding Service to Students Award from the Vanderbilt University Office of the Dean of Students. In 2017, Cara was nominated to participate in Vanderbilt Leadership Academy, a nine-month learning journey for high-performing leaders from academic and administrative areas at both Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Cara serves as a lecturer in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, for which she teaches the Seminar on Gender and Violence. Cara provides institutional advocacy on aspects of University response systems and processes involving sexual violence and represents Project Safe on various University task forces and committees, including the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault and the Officer Education Sexual Assault Prevention Committee. Cara was recently named co-chair of the University’s Staff Steering Committee for Women’s Initiatives.

Otis McGresham, M.Ed.
Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist

McGresham_Otis- HeadshotOtis holds a Master of Higher Education Administration degree from Texas A&M University and a BA in Organizational Communication from Western Michigan University. Along with his passion for serving students, he brings a variety of professional experiences covering multiple functional areas of student affairs. Advocacy and education have been a consistent part of Otis’ student affairs career. Previously, Otis has served as the Assistant Director for Interpersonal Violence Services and Advocacy and the Rape Prevention Education Coordinator in the NC State University Women’s Center, and Coordinator of Student Assistance Services and Hall Director at Texas A&M University. Otis’ focus is on creating and maintaining educationally purposeful environments where all students feel safe, empowered, and encouraged to participate fully and authentically in the university experience. Otis is the primary coordinator of Project Safe’s Green Dot bystander intervention program.

Sarah Jordan Welch, LMSW
Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist

Welch_Sarah Jordan 2

Sarah Jordan is a Licensed Master of Social Worker and holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College. Previously, Sarah Jordan worked as a Youth Outreach Specialist and Advocate, working with survivors of physical and sexual violence at SafePlace Advocacy Center and Shelter, as well as the Youth Outreach Specialist for the Crisis Clinic in Olympia, Washington. Sarah Jordan brings a passion for educating students and providing empathy and support for those impacted by interpersonal violence. She is committed to furthering communal knowledge about issues of violence and the layered identities of survivors including gender, race, class, ability, and sexuality. Sarah Jordan’s focus is in supporting survivors, focusing on the relationship with trauma and bodies, while also understanding and educating on the systemic causes of violence. In 2017, Sarah Jordan was recognized by the Office of the Dean of Students as the recipient of the New Professional Staff Member Award. Sarah Jordan is the primary coordinator for Project Safe’s victim services and advocacy-based programs.

Lucine Markarian, BA
Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist

Lucine joined the staff of the Project Safe Center in April 2019.  Lucine previously served as a crisis hotline and resident victim advocate with Turning Point, Incl, in Mount Clemens, Michigan, where she served persons and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice, with minors in sociology and women’s and gender studies from Michigan State University, where she lead the Anti-Human Trafficking Club.  Lucine also previously provided hotline and direct crisis intervention response with DC Safe in Washington, D.C.

Heidi Welch, BFA, MLIS
Administrative Assistant II

Heidi joined the staff of the Project Safe Center in August after working at the Vanderbilt Department of History for fourteen years. Prior to working at Vanderbilt, she taught art at The Ensworth School for eight years. Heidi holds a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts after attending the Pratt Art Institute, in Brooklyn, NY, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She also holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN. She loves both creativity and organization. Heidi channels her creative energy to cooking and organic gardening and loves to walk Radnor Lake on the weekends.


Becca Huppi
Graduate Assistant

Becca is in her second year of the Masters in Community Development and Action program in Peabody College. Becca received a Bachelors in Social Work from Utah State University and previously worked with survivors at a child and family support center. Her passion lies in community organizing and raising awareness that inspires action. She is thrilled to be a part of the support network on campus and is excited to call Nashville home.



Contact Us:


Office Phone:  (615) 875-0660

24-Hour Crisis Hotline:  (615) 322-SAFE (7233)

Location:  2304H Vanderbilt Place (West Side Row Cumberland House), Nashville, TN 37235