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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Partner Spotlight: Laura Dunn

November 04, 2014

Laura Dunn, JD is the Executive Director of SurvJustice, a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent campus sexual violence and improve campus response to survivors. Laura is a nationally recognized campus sexual violence survivor and activist who has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, the National Law Journal, MSNBC, Al Jazeera America, and TIME Magazine among others. In 2007, Dunn graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Legal Studies and Psychology with a certificate in Criminal Justice. While a student, two men from her crew team sexually assaulted Dunn. Despite reporting to campus officials and police, she was denied justice and eventually filed a Title IX complaint against the UW. In 2010, her struggle for justice was featured by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR.

Upon graduation, Dunn entered Teach for America in New Orleans where she taught middle school math post-Katrina. During that time she also served as the Communications Director for the national nonprofit PAVE and founded its Survivor Justice Campaign. In 2014, Dunn received her Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law where she graduated as a Rose Zetzer Fellow receiving the Order of the Barristers for her talents in trial and appellate advocacy and received the William P. Cunningham Award in recognition of her national campus activism. While in law school, Dunn was selected for publication in the Georgetown Journal of Gender & Law on the topic of campus sexual violence, she also successfully lobbied for the passage of the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization, interned at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, served as a judicial intern for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, sat as an advisor to the White House Task Force Protecting Students Against Sexual Assault, and was the primary student negotiator on the U.S. Department of Education’s VAWA Rulemaking Committee. Dunn has been recognized for her advocacy on the U.S. Senate floor by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and as a VIP guest of Vice President Joe Biden at the announcement of the Dear Colleague Letter.

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