SRU receives It’s On Us PA grant to address sexual violence
Slippery Rock University was one of 37 Pennsylvania colleges and universities to receive “It’s On Us PA” grants for 2021 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to address sexual violence on college campuses.
Jan. 19, 2021
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University once again received a state grant to combat sexual violence on college campuses. SRU was one of 37 Pennsylvania colleges and universities to receive "It's On Us PA" grants for 2021, announced earlier this month by Gov. Tom Wolf as part of an annual statewide campaign that's in its fifth year.
The It's On Us PA grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education builds on the momentum of the national It's On Us movement to reframe the conversation around sexual violence and have people pledge to be part of the solution. Grants are used by institutions to implement training for students, faculty and staff; institutional campaigns to raise awareness of sexual assault; improving reporting and response structures; and building momentum to create sustained changes to campus culture.
"We appreciate this opportunity to capitalize on the good work that's already being done on campus to address sexual assault," said Karla Fonner, director of student support who helped write the grant on behalf of SRU. "We incorporated some new pieces that we wouldn't otherwise have been able to do. We'll be able to take a deeper dive into what we call 'intimate partner violence,' which is domestic violence by a current or former intimate partner, because that's an area where we're seeing an increase in reports."
SRU will receive $7,626 in 2021 which will be applied to cover expenses from January 2021 to May 2022. SRU will use the money to implement Step Up!, a bystander intervention programming related to IPV, as well as a book discussion offered to students and other training related to IPV for faculty and staff, including counselors from SRU's Student Counseling Center. Additionally, SRU will use grant money to further analyze data from national surveys and internal case reports related to sexual violence.
Expenses for that the grant will defray the costs associated with producing posters, journals, books and other promotional materials, as well as licensing a laptop computer. Organizers are using the "Flip the Script" slogan.
"Flip the Script means that we want to talk to students in a way that doesn't focus only on the negative outcomes and instead address how to develop positive healthy relationships," Fonner said. "It's not just, 'Don't do this!,' it's 'Here are some ways that you can have better interactions.'"
Since 2016, the Wolf Administration has awarded 150 It's On Us PA grants totaling nearly $4 million to more than 70 post-secondary institutions, including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. In past years, the University's It's On Us campaign has included panel discussions, workshops, posters, and partnerships with campus media and the Department of Athletics. Coaches, student-athletes and athletic trainers were involved in previous programs because of their roles as campus leaders and familiarity with similar sexual assault prevention campaigns conducted by the NCAA.
"Sexual assault continues to be a problem among college students and we're grateful to be able to adapt programming that addresses the evolving needs of the campus," said Holly McCoy, assistant vice president for diversity and equal opportunity. "Our goal is to maintain a safe, supportive environment for our students and that requires continued engagement and awareness of issues such as intimate partner violence."
Gov. Wolf signed legislation in June 2019 encouraging more Pennsylvania college students to report sexual violence. As part of the state budget package, one of the laws requires post-secondary institutions to offer online, anonymous options for students to report sexual assault. The other law protects students reporting sexual assault from being disciplined for violating school drug, alcohol or other policies.
"Sexual violence will not be tolerated," said Gov. Wolf in a prepared statement. "All colleges and universities must be safe for students. The It's On Us PA grant program was created to provide colleges and universities with support and resources necessary to shift campus culture and promote healthy relationships.
"Students, staff and educators across the commonwealth have done tremendous work through It's On Us PA to protect learning environments and ensure they are free from sexual assault, harassment, and violence. These grants will further build on the work they have done to hold people accountable."
For more information about It's On Us PA, including an opportunity to take a pledge to help recognize and combat sexual assault, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
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