The Z Society awarded Assoc. Dean of Students Nicole Eramo the Pale Z Award, the highest and rarest honor the society bestows, according to a letter sent to The Cavalier Daily.
Eramo received the award for her work with students whose lives have been affected by sexual violence, and for being a “tireless advocate for students,” according to the letter.
Past recipients of the award include former Music Prof. Ernest Mead, Pat Lampkin, vice president for student affairs, and former University President John Casteen.
Eramo’s award comes during a week of recognition of sexual violence issues on Grounds. Take Back the Night week will wrap up Friday with counseling drop-in hours and a spoken-word workshop after a culminating rally and vigil held Thursday night.
Fourth-year College student Emily Renda, who helped organize Take Back the Night week and has worked closely with Eramo, spoke of her merit.
“I’ve never known somebody with the degree of resilience she has and to be supportive in a role that’s conflictual,” Renda said. “She does her best to direct [students] to whatever’s best for them. That kind of care and respect for students is really admirable. … She’s just trying to serve the people in front of her, and it takes guts to do that and a lot of grace to do that.”
The Zs referenced this week’s events, as well as the “serious conversation about sexual misconduct on college campuses,” in their letter.
How sexual misconduct cases are adjudicated has recently come under particular scrutiny, with policies at the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth and University of California Los Angeles drawing special attention.
Renda said protests against the administrations do not occur at the University because of administrators like Eramo.
The Zs also acknowledged the difficulty of the situation administrators face when pursuing, or sometimes not pursuing, cases of sexual violence.
“Administrators such as Ms. Eramo are caught in a complex tangle of confidentiality rules and legislation — from Title IX to due process requirements,” the letter said.
“For somebody who gets a lot of criticism and does such hard work, I can’t think of anybody … who is so underappreciated and who deserves this more,” Renda said.