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November 29, 2016

Temple, Drexel and 34 other schools awarded $1 million to combat sexual assault on campus

Thirty-six colleges and universities in Pennsylvania were awarded $1 million in state grants to fight sexual assault on campus, a first-ever for Pennsylvania's "It's On Us" campaign.

The schools – which include Temple University, Drexel University, Chestnut Hill University, Juniata College and many others – will each be given around $30,000. The money will be used for the three-part goal of the campaign, which hopes to improve awareness and prevention, crack down on barriers that prevent survivors from reporting their assaults and to improve leadership, Gov. Tom Wolf's office announced Tuesday.

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“Sexual assault has a corrosive effect on all of us,” Wolf said in a news release. “My administration is committed to combatting this urgent and serious epidemic, specifically on college campuses. I am proud to announce grants to Pennsylvania postsecondary institutions to increase awareness, education and resources to combat sexual assault.”

The 36 schools were chosen from about 60 that applied based on grant proposals, current efforts, budgets and more.

The "It's On Us" campaign was an initiative started by President Barack Obama in September 2014 and was implemented in Pennsylvania back in January. 

The U.S. Department of Education announced that it was investigating 55 colleges across the nation for Title IX violations, including the mishandling of sexual assault and harassment back in 2014. 

Temple and Lancaster's Franklin & Marshall College were included on the list.

Since then, schools across the country have worked toward developing task forces and implementing other strategies to combat sexual assault.

In August 2015, Temple announced that it would add training and take other steps to address the issue in a newly developed Presidential Committee on Campus Sexual Misconduct.

"Even as the committee begins its work, I can assure you that members of the Temple community take issues of sexual misconduct very seriously," former University President Neil Theobald said in a campuswide email after the committee was created. "I also know we are all committed to identifying ways in which we can further enhance the university's broad range of resources to address these serious and complex matters."

Theobald was ousted after he was given a "no confidence" vote by the school's board of trustees in July. Richard Englert has since taken over the position.