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Meet Devon Thacker Thomas

Violence and Justice Focus of Sociologist's Research

Feb. 5, 2014

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Devon Thacker Thomas

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Devon Thacker Thomas, assistant professor of sociology, joined Cal State Fullerton's tenure-track faculty in the fall. She says she teaches to raise awareness of social problems and because she loves being in the classroom.

Thacker Thomas, who has taught at the University of Colorado and at Metropolitan State University of Denver, strives to build a community within the classroom.

"I want to hear students' viewpoints and equip them with information on the issues, so they can hopefully make a difference."

Commitment to bringing comprehensive awareness through learning to her students has propelled Thacker Thomas to incorporate service learning into her classroom, for which she received a grant from the Center for Internships & Community Engagement. Additionally, in fall 2014, Thacker Thomas is introducing a new course titled, "Violence Against Women: Global Realities."

Her focus on intimate partner, family and interpersonal violence, as well as law enforcement and the criminal justice system, began in high school.

"I view such violence as a cultural issue that we can and should change," said Thacker Thomas, who completed her undergraduate, master's and doctorate at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her doctoral thesis and recent research focus on mandatory arrest laws, which require that police make an arrest if a crime occurs between intimate partners.

"I discovered that under mandatory arrest laws, a tremendous number of women were being arrested in these incidents," she explains. "Yet, historically we know that most of the victims of such violence are women.

"There seemed to be a disconnect. Is the law acting fairly and impartially on the conflict or have such laws become vehicles through which society is able to reproduce inequality and injustice?"

Thacker Thomas presented her research on police experiences at intimate partner violence at the fall 2013 American Society of Criminology conference. Her future research will explore the application of law on same-sex partnerships in which intimate partner violence is present.

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