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January 17, 2020

Gov. Wolf, Pennsylvania officials award $1 million to 36 schools to combat on-campus sexual violence

The grants are part of the state's 'It's On Us' initiative

Colleges Sexual Assaults
Tom Wolf Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/TNS

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration has invested nearly $4 million into grants related to the 'It's On Us' program to combat sexual violence at Pennsylvania colleges and universities.

Pennsylvania is providing nearly $1 million in grants to 36 colleges and universities in the state to combat sexual violence on campuses, Gov. Tom Wolf and other state and national officials announced Thursday. 

The grants are part of Wolf’s "It's On Us" campaign in Pennsylvania, which he developed four years ago as the nation's first statewide initiative targeting sexual assaults at colleges. "It's On Us" is a national campaign started by former President Barack Obama, and the Wolf administration that has now invested nearly $4 million into grants related to the program.

"Every student, teacher, administrator and visitor to our campuses deserves a safe environment free from harassment,"Wolf said in a release. "This is the fourth year that my administration will be working with students, schools and communities to build programs to raise awareness about and stop sexual assaults. We must never tolerate this behavior on our campuses or a culture that allows it."

The selected colleges and universities in Pennsylvania — both private and public institutions — can use the grants to develop programs on campus that can help stop sexual assaults, which includes training for students, faculty, and staff to raising awareness throughout the school community. 

Bryn Mawr College, Holy Family University, Penn State, Rosemont College, and St. Joseph’s University are among the 36 schools selected for the grants.

"We thank the leadership at our colleges and universities for providing students and employees with the critical programs and skills to prevent and end sexual violence on their campuses," Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said in the release. "Through Gov. Wolf's continued commitment to this important initiative, we are implementing strategies that elevate awareness, engage communities and improve institutional campus climates."

Wolf signed legislation in July that requires colleges and universities to offer online and anonymous options for students to report sexual assaults. Schools are required to have those programs in place by this June.

State and national leaders of the "It's On Us" movement applauded Pennsylvania for its investment in combating sexual violence on college campuses.

"The nearly $4 million in 'It's On Us' Pennsylvania grants allocated over the last four years have and will continue to empower colleges and universities across the state to do the critically important work of preventing sexual assault within their communities, and responding in a trauma-informed way with survivors when it sadly does occur," said "It's On Us" Executive Director Tracey Vitchers in the release.

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