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Dinniman: Immaculata, WCU Get $44K to Fight Sexual Assault on Campus
WEST CHESTER (January 11, 2018) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that two universities in Chester County – Immaculata University and West Chester University – will receive more than $44,000 in total state grant funding to prevent and combat sexual on campus.
“First and foremost, institutions of higher education must be safe and healthy environments for learning,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “Sexual assault and misconduct on campus cannot and will not be tolerated. And these grant funds will support bold and innovative programs to reframe the conversation and change the culture of sexual violence on campus to one of accountability, prevention, engagement, and advocacy.”
The funds come through the It’s On Us Pennsylvania grant program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Immaculata University will receive more than $28,000 to achieve three objectives:
- Remove and reduce barriers that prevent survivors and bystanders of sexual violence from reporting and/or accessing vital resources.
- Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems regarding sexual violence.
- Demonstrate significant, proactive, and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging all Immaculata University faculty, staff, administrators, and students to pledge to improve the institution’s climate.
“Immaculata University is extremely grateful to the State of Pennsylvania for providing us the funds to continue educational programming and resources to our students regarding sexual assault. We believe it is important that all Immaculata University students are educated on this topic, as well as understand they each share a responsibility and commitment in the prevention of sexual violence, along with the creation of a safe community,” said Patricia A. Canterino, Vice President for Student Development and Undergraduate Admissions & Dean of Students.
West Chester University will receive more than $16,000 to engage and empower men on campus to be active bystanders to change the culture around sexual violence. Throughout the fall, the university will host a speaker series focused on these initiatives, develop a print and social media campaign relating to healthy masculinity and violence prevention, and host another Week of Action to engage the campus community in the campaign. This grant also includes special partnerships with the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Athletics.
“We are looking forward to working closely with students, faculty, and staff to continue these conversations and this important work on campus,” said Emily Sheehan, West Chester University’s Coordinator for Violence Prevention & Healthy Masculinity Programs.
Both Immaculata and West Chester have received It’s on Us Pennsylvania funds in the past. The latest round of funding, the fourth in the program’s history, includes nearly $1 million in total grant funding awarded to combat and prevent campus sexual assault at 38 colleges and universities statewide.
It’s On Us is a national initiative championed by President Barack Obama. Pennsylvania launched its statewide program, the first of its kind in the nation, in 2016 and has awarded nearly $3 million in grants to public and private, 2-year and 4-year institutions in every corner of the state since then.
Colleges and universities have used the grants to create forward-thinking and highly-successful programs ranging from campus-wide training for students, faculty and staff, to institutional campaigns to raise awareness of the reporting process and the resources available to survivors of sexual violence.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college and more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.