HARRISBURG – As part of his administration’s “It’s On Us PA” campaign, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that 36 postsecondary institutions in Pennsylvania were awarded nearly $1 million in grants to address campus sexual assault.
“Sexual assault has a corrosive effect on all of us,” said Wolf. “My administration is committed to combatting this urgent and serious epidemic, specifically on college campuses. I am proud to announce grants to Pennsylvania postsecondary institutions to increase awareness, education and resources to combat sexual assault.”
The grants of up to $30,000 each were awarded to postsecondary institutions across the state – including community colleges, and independent and public two-year and four-year colleges and universities – to implement strategies on their campuses to address goals of the governor’s It’s On Us PA campaign, which include:
- Improve awareness, prevention, reporting and response systems regarding sexual violence in schools, colleges and universities to better serve all students.
- Remove/reduce barriers that prevent survivors of sexual violence from reporting and or accessing vital resources by creating a more consistent, empowering reporting process for student survivors of gender based violence.
- Demonstrate significant, proactive and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging Pennsylvania’s education leaders – including college and university presidents, superintendents – as well as students, teachers, faculty, staff, families and communities to pledge to improve their institutions’ climate.
“Pennsylvania’s It’s On Us campaign is fostering discussions across the commonwealth about how we address the very serious issue of campus sexual assault,” Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said. “These grant recipients will implement new approaches to tackling this issue, and will develop best practices that can potentially be replicated around the state.”
More than 60 applicants competed for funding. Grant awardees were selected using a blind evaluation process by a team assembled by the Department of Education. Applications were assessed using a host of criteria, including:
- Goals and objectives of grant proposal and alignment to the goals of the governor’s It’s On Us PA Program;
- Program and activity narrative for which funding will be used, including details of how the proposed program/activity will improve awareness, training, reduce or eliminate barriers for reporting or improve data collection and reporting capacity;
- Supporting institutions’ efforts to better understand strengths and barriers within their existing prevention, reporting and response systems through the development, use, and or analysis of campus climate surveys or other data, including current data reported for Clery Act compliance;
- Detailed budget information that supports the goals and objectives of the proposal;
- Expected outcomes; and
- Accuracy of the information submitted.
Programs or activities that were considered for funding included campus-wide training for students, faculty and staff; institutional campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the reporting process and resources available to and rights of survivors of sexual violence; programs that enhance awareness of available resources and students’ rights or seek to increase mechanisms for anonymous reporting; and efforts to improve capacity to collect federal- or state-required data.
The 36 institutions selected for It’s On Us PA grants are:
- Slippery Rock University
- Chestnut Hill College
- California University
- Drexel University
- Lincoln University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Indiana University
- Northampton Community College
- University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
- Misericordia University
- Millersville University
- Temple University
- Franklin & Marshall College
- Point Park University
- Shippensburg University
- University of Pittsburgh
- Delaware County Community College
- Keystone College
- Gannon University
- The Commonwealth Medical College
- Carlow University
- Juniata College
- Mount Aloysius College
- Eastern University
- Cabrini University
- York College of Pennsylvania
- Gettysburg College
- Community College of Allegheny County
- Wilkes University
- University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
- Delaware Valley University
- Bucks County Community College
- The University of Scranton
- Kutztown University
- Westminster College
Last January Pennsylvania became the first state to launch an “It’s On Us” campaign, building from the momentum of the national campaign launched in 2014 by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Funding for the ‘It’s On Us PA’ grants was secured by Wolf in the 2016-17 state budget to build on the campaign’s progress. Since launching the ‘It’s On Us PA’ campaign in January of 2015, more than 1,000 people have taken the pledge.