Yvett Roby

Portrait of Yvett Roby
Photo by Jonah Holland

When Mississippi State University opened the Office of Survivor Support in 2020, it had one office on campus and one employee—Yvett Roby.

Now, through director Roby’s efforts, the office is suitably located off campus and features a professional team to connect survivors with the resources they need.

“We aim to change the culture, and during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we're hosting various initiatives,” Roby said. “I’m grateful for Dr. Regina Hyatt's trust in me to develop the department, and our commitment to supporting the campus community remains unwavering.”

In 2020, Hyatt, MSU’s vice president for Student Affairs, determined that any student who experienced sexual assault needed a dedicated space to receive confidential, supportive measures such as emotional and academic assistance, housing accommodations and advocacy services. The MSU Office of Survivor Support was established, and Roby became its first employee.

Through grant funding, the office now is located on College View Drive, where any MSU student can access confidential services. Two advocates, a counselor and a project director are available. Roby, who previously worked in MSU’s Student Counseling Services, is a psychology graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and psychology from the University of West Alabama and a Ph.D. in instructional systems and workforce development from MSU.

“We offer confidential, comprehensive support and advocacy services for students who have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence or other crimes,” Roby explained.

“We provide a voice to those who don’t have a voice,” she continued. “We connect students to resources such as mental health therapy, academic and housing accommodations, as well as medical and court advocacy. We offer awareness initiatives and prevention education programs to the university community to enhance awareness regarding gender-based violence.”

MSU students are eligible for services, no matter where an incident occurs. No reporting to the university, law enforcement or any other person or group is required. In-person services are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a 24-hour hotline is available at 662-325-3333.

“It is a privilege that those seeking our services place their trust in us to provide guidance and lend them a voice,” Roby said. “We’re available 24/7, and we are confidential.”

Portrait of Yvett Roby
Photos by Jonah Holland