Harrisburg, PA - Continuing the Wolf Administration’s commitment to combatting campus sexual assault, the Pennsylvania Department of Education today announced that more than $1 million in It’s On Us PA grants are available to colleges, universities, and other postsecondary schools in Pennsylvania.
“It is imperative that students feel safe when they’re on college campuses, and It’s On Us grant funding helps ensure that safety by providing education, resources, and support to campus communities to combat sexual violence,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “These grants, which have been awarded across the commonwealth over the past eight years, reaffirm our commitment to Pennsylvania’s college and university students, their families, and communities.”
Launched by Governor Tom 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 and employees from sexual violence.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education will accept applications through November 14, 2022. Grant applications are available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website.
On July 8, 2022, Governor Wolf signed Act 55 of 2022 (Act 55) into law, amending the Public School Code. All institutions of higher education and postsecondary private licensed schools must now adopt a definition of consent as part of their code of conduct or sexual misconduct or harassment policy. By December 31, 2022, each institution must enter into and maintain a memorandum of understanding with at least one rape crisis center and one domestic violence program, and by July 1, 2023, institutions must establish and implement an educational program, in consultation with at least one local rape crisis center and one domestic violence program, that includes sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking education prevention and response.
Since 2016, the Wolf Administration has awarded 225 It’s On Us PA grants totaling nearly $6 million to 84 postsecondary institutions, including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Eligible institutions and schools with 10,000 or fewer students may request up to $40,000; those with more than 10,000 students may apply for up to $60,000. Private licensed career schools that do not offer specialized associate degrees may request up to $10,000.
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:
- Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems regarding sexual violence in schools, colleges, and universities to better serve all students.
- 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.
- 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 Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) applauds the launch of the 2022-23 It’s On Us PA grant program," said Donna Greco, public policy and legislative affairs director at PCAR. "We thank Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Education for their leadership in establishing this grant program, which is a model program unique to Pennsylvania. As we get ready for the 2022-23 grants, PCAR is excited to support expanded collaborations across institutions of higher education and rape crisis centers as we work together to create safer campus communities for all students."
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.
Pennsylvanians are invited to visit the It’s On Us PA webpage and take the pledge to “recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.”
Visitors to the page may also quickly and easily tweet pre-written messages of support to spread the word to their social networks about the It’s On Us PA pledge.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website. Follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest.
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