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Wolf Administration Accepting Applications for “It’s on Us PA” Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Grants

September 15, 2016, @ 8:00 AM
The Wolf Administration released the following press release on September 15, 2016:

Harrisburg, PA – As part of the Wolf Administration’s “It’s On Us PA” campaign, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that eligible post-secondary institutions in Pennsylvania can now apply for up to $30,000 in competitive funding to address campus sexual assault.

“Despite increased scrutiny, programming, and institutional reporting requirements, sexual violence continues to be the most prevalent and underreported crime at postsecondary institutions, affecting an estimated one in five women and one in 20 men during their time on campus,” Governor Wolf said. “In order to properly address this growing problem, we must partner with our colleges and universities and provide the necessary resources for keeping all students safe.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will accept applications for the Governor’s It’s On Us PA Grant Program from September 15, 2016 to October 15, 2016. Independent, public, and state-related institutions are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to proposals that focus on addressing the goals of the Governor’s It’s On Us PA campaign, institutions that have taken the It’s On Us PA pledge.

“Since its launch last January, Pennsylvania’s It’s On Us Campaign has sparked a dialogue among stakeholders on how the commonwealth’s secondary and postsecondary schools can address the issue of sexual assault,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said. “By building effective partnerships and developing new approaches, Pennsylvania’s institutions can develop best practices that can be replicated around the state.”

Survivors of sexual assault often struggle with long-term health issues, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. They are more likely to earn lower grades or drop out of school altogether. Based on estimates from researchers, the lifetime costs in lowered educational attainment and lost productivity for adolescent girls experiencing sexual assault in Pennsylvania is a staggering $15.1 billion.

In an effort to increase awareness, education and resources to combat sexual assault Governor Wolf launched the “It’s On Us PA” campaign on January 29, 2016, inviting education leaders and all Pennsylvanians to be part of the solution to protect students from sexual violence. The campaign’s goals are to:

  1. Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems</b> regarding sexual violence in schools, colleges and universities to better serve all students.
  2. Remove/reduce barriers</b> 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</b> 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.
With this announcement, Pennsylvania became the first state to launch an “It’s On Us” campaign, building off the momentum of the national campaign launched in 2014 by President Obama and Vice President Biden. In an effort to continue the campaign’s progress, Governor Wolf successfully advocated for funding in the 2016-17 state budget to support postsecondary institutions’ efforts to: improve or conduct training for students, faculty, and administrators; increase institutional capacity to meet existing federal and state reporting requirements; and reduce or eliminate barriers to reporting for survivors of sexual violence.

Programs or activities that will be 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.

Applications will be reviewed on a competitive basis by a team chosen by PDE’s Office for Postsecondary and Higher Education using the following criteria:

  • 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.
For more information on the application process, please contact PDE’s Office for Postsecondary and Higher Education at ra-editsonuspa@pa.gov.
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