Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania (PA) has announced that 37 colleges will receive as much as $30,000 each as part of his state’s “It’s On Us PA” campaign to combat campus sexual assault. These grants will provide funding from January 2021 to May 2022.
This year, Governor Wolf listed three specific goals for the campaign.
The first is to provide a better framework for all students to learn about, prevent, and report incidents of sexual violence in schools, colleges, and universities.
The second is to address barriers that stop survivors of sexual violence from reporting their abuse and/or accessing vital resources.
And, finally, to challenge Pennsylvania’s education leaders to pledge to improve their institutions’ climate around sexual assault.
“Students, staff, and educators across the commonwealth have done tremendous work through It’s On Us PA to protect learning environments and ensure they are free from sexual assault, harassment, and violence. These grants will further build on the work they have done to hold people accountable,” Wolf said.
It’s On Us to Keep Campuses Safe
It’s On Us is a national initiative set up by the Obama Administration to raise awareness about sexual assault. It started by teaching participants that non-consensual sex qualifies as assault, warning them of indicators that they may be in a dangerous situation.
Then the program explains ways in which they can intervene, encouraging them to create an environment of support for victims and survivors.
Since Governor Wolf established the It’s On Us PA campaign in 2016, the Wolf administration has awarded 150 grants totalling nearly $4 million to more than 70 post-secondary institutions. This includes public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Beyond the campaign, Governor Wolf signed legislation in June 2019 that encouraged more students to report sexual violence. One of the laws requires post-secondary institutions to offer online and anonymous options for students to report sexual assault.
The other law protects students that are reporting sexual assault from being disciplined for violating school drug, alcohol, or other policies.
These efforts have made Pennsylvania a national leader in improving campus safety.