Continuing his commitment to combatting campus sexual assault, Governor Tom Wolf announced that $1 million in It’s On Us PA grants are available to colleges, universities, and other postsecondary schools in Pennsylvania. Launched by Governor Wolf in 2016 with the support of education leaders across the commonwealth, including school superintendents and college presidents, It’s On Us PA is a statewide campaign that invites education leaders and all Pennsylvanians to be part of the solution to protect students from sexual violence.

“Pennsylvania’s college and university campuses must be safe places for all students,” said Governor Wolf. “Sexual assault cannot be tolerated, and we all have a responsibility to promote healthy relationships. My administration created the It’s On Us PA grant program to create pathways to tools and training to change campus culture. This year’s grant funding will continue to support this important work on campuses across the commonwealth.”

Since 2016, the Wolf Administration has awarded over 190 It’s On Us PA grants totaling nearly $5 million to more than 75 postsecondary institutions, including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education will accept applications for grants of up to $30,000 through October 20, 2021. Grant applications are available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website.

“Students deserve safe environments where their academic, social, emotional, and professional opportunities can flourish,” said Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega. “I am thankful to Governor Wolf for establishing the It’s On Us PA grant program, and proud of our postsecondary partners for building awareness, developing solutions, and working to help keep people safe from sexual assault.”

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 or 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 – as well as students, teachers, faculty, staff, families, and communities to pledge to improve their institutions’ climate.

The national It’s On Us campaign was created by the Obama Administration to raise awareness about sexual assault, teach participants that assault includes non-consensual sex, advise them on how to identify dangerous situations, empower them to intervene, and urge them to create an environment of support for victims and survivors.

Governor Wolf signed a bill in June 2019 creating the first new state laws to address campus sexual violence. One law requires postsecondary institutions to offer online, anonymous options for students to report sexual assaults. The other law protects students reporting sexual assault from being disciplined for violating school drug, alcohol, or other policies.

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Author: Editor
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