Wolf Administration Announces $1 Million to Combat Campus Sexual Assault is Available

October 12, 2018

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that $1 million in “It’s On Us PA” grants are available to combat sexual violence at colleges and universities. The Pennsylvania Department of Education will accept applications for grants of up to $30,000 through November 21.

“Our school and college campuses must be safe places for all students,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Through the “It’s on Us” program everyone can take a stand against sexual assault and help to change the culture on campuses. These grants are part of that progress, but we must do more.

“I introduced a bipartisan “It’s on Us” legislative package last year to empower and protect victims of sexual assault on college and high school campuses. I urge the state House and Senate to pass them before this legislative session expires.”

Since 2016, PDE has awarded 75 It’s On Us PA Grants totaling nearly $2 million to more than 60 postsecondary institutions across the state – including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. The institutions use grant funds to implement strategies on their campuses to address goals of the Governor’s It’s On Us PA campaign, which include:

  1. Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems regarding sexual violence in schools, colleges and universities to better serve all students.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Programs or activities considered for funding include 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.

Grant applications are available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website.

The It’s On Us campaign is a national initiative started by the Obama Administration to raise awareness about sexual assault; teaching participants that assault includes non-consensual sex, advising them on how to identify dangerous situations, empowering them to intervene, and urging them to create an environment of support for victims and survivors.

Governor Wolf launched It’s On Us PA in 2016, the nation’s first statewide campaign. Pennsylvanians are invited to visit the It’s On Us page on the governor’s website and take the pledge to “recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.” Users may also quickly and easily tweet pre-written messages of support to spread the word to their social networks about the pledge.

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