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Local universities handed state funds to combat sexual assault

Several Central Pennsylvania colleges and universities are among 36 institutes statewide to receive state grants geared toward combating sexual assaults on campus, an issue that has drawn widespread attention in recent years.

The grants were announced this week by Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. More than 60 applicants competed for funding through the “It’s On Us PA”  program, officials said.

According to the governor’s office, local institutions selected for the “It’s On Us PA” grants and the amounts they received are:

Millersville will use its money to “supplement our many sexual assault education programs/activities/events on campus,” university spokeswoman Janet Kacskos said.

A significant portion of the grant money will pay for a “Green Dot” training program, a bystander-intervention initiative that the university started earlier this year. Other portions will pay for a speaker to come to campus and for a “Red Flag and Consent” campaign in which red flags are placed around campus to signify the red flags of an abusive relationship, Kacskos added.

York College will use its $17,090 grant award to enhance the college’s current sexual-assault programming, its officials said this week.

The college seeks to increase the number of sexual-assault prevention programs offered to employees and students and “facilitate broad campus engagement” through an effort “that will focus on the prevention of interpersonal violence,” spokeswoman Mary Dolheimer said.

York College also plans to invite a national figure on the subject of sexual assault and sexual aggression to present a program during the spring 2017 semester on “what can be done to create a safer environment,” Dolheimer added.

“The goals we have set for this project align closely with the mission of Gov. Wolf’s ‘It’s On Us PA’ campaign,” York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith said in a statement.

“Each speaks to York College’s intention to improve campus-wide awareness, prevention, and reporting of sexual violence by encouraging employees and students to take part in sexual assault prevention programming.”

Pennsylvania recently became the first state to launch an “It’s On Us” campaign, building on the momentum of a national campaign launched in 2014 by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, a Wolf spokeswoman said.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com.

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