Posted on Monday, January 23, 2023
Westminster College has been awarded a $37,674 It’s On Us PA grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to combat campus sexual assault.
Launched in 2016 by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, the It’s On Us PA grant aims to increase awareness, education and resources for sexual assault prevention and victim support initiatives at higher education institutions.
Thirty-nine higher education and postsecondary institutions have been awarded grants.
“We are honored to have been selected to receive the It’s On Us grant this year,” said Dr. Gina Vance, vice president and dean of student affairs. “With this grant, Westminster will be able to build upon the foundation set after receiving the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) grant in 2019 to reduce sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking on campus.”
Vance said the OVW grant allowed the College to enhance campus prevention and response efforts and establish a robust campus prevention program to educate students, while also forming a partnership with the community-based victim services provider, Arise.
Westminster plans to use the It’s On Us PA grant funds to expand on already-established education efforts, including more campus-wide awareness campaigns and student-driven programming.
The grant funding will also support other initiatives including developing a campus-wide referral network of faculty and staff volunteers, providing training and professional development to staff who provide direct services to student survivors, and implementing an upgraded confidential records database. Westminster also plans to partner with the Persad Center of Pittsburgh to improve services for LGBTQ+ survivors of interpersonal violence.
The It’s On Us PA grant proposal was prepared by Melissa Baron, director of Westminster’s Wellness Center, and Stephanie Holzhauser, associate director for well-being and violence prevention.