Saint Vincent Awarded Pennsylvania Governor's 'It's On Us' Grant

by Public Relations | Jan 11, 2019

LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College has been awarded a $30,000 grant to support Title IX programming and resources on campus as part of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s commitment to combat sexual assault on college campuses through the state’s It’s On Us grant program. A total of 38 post-secondary institutions across the state were awarded approximately $1 million.

“We must never tolerate sexual assault on our campuses, or a culture that allows it,” said Gov. Wolf. “Over the past three years, my administration has worked with students, schools and communities to build programs to stop sexual assaults. These grants will help schools across the state to make campuses safer and help stop sexual harassment and assault.”

This is the fourth year of Pennsylvania’s It’s On Us grant program, as the state has invested a total of nearly $3 million over the past three years. This marks the second time in as many years that Saint Vincent was chosen as a recipient, having been selected for a $15,000 grant in March.

Saint Vincent College will use the award to enhance its Healthy Relationships program, which supports the school’s efforts to provide an environment free from sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, partner violence, stalking, sexual exploitation and retaliation.

This spring, a one-credit class, Healthy Relationships, will be offered to all current and aspiring prefects (resident assistants) in which they will learn best practices in developing healthy friendships and romantic relationships. The course will be followed up with a four-day retreat to further educate and prepare participants for service as peer educators for freshmen. Additionally, a webpage dedicated to healthy relationships will be developed that will include testimonial videos from faculty, administrators, staff, alumni and students.

A portion of the grant will also be put toward developing a speaker/discussion series entitled “Continuing the Conversation.” This impetus for this new series, which will look to feature speakers who can share practical experiences and connect with SVC students, came about after a successful, captivating presentation to the Saint Vincent community in October by Don McPherson, a former professional football standout who is now a nationally-renowned expert in sexual violence and domestic violence prevention.

“Don’s presentation was tremendous, and we have since had a number of students encourage us to welcome similar speakers so that we can build on the ideas that came from that discussion as a community,” said Saint Vincent Title IX coordinator Eileen K. Flinn, Esq. She indicated that plans call for having one featured speaker in each semester, while the College is also planning to welcome a panel of stakeholders including law enforcement, medical professionals and sexual and domestic violence advocates for a town-hall style event with the entire Saint Vincent community.

“We thank our colleges and universities for taking proactive steps to help prevent sexual assaults and harassment on our campuses and to improve the reporting and response systems to better serve all students,” said Pennsylvania education secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “The ‘It’s On Us’ grants help our schools provide critical training and resources to students and employees so they can study and work in safer environments.”

Last March, Saint Vincent was chosen for its first It’s On Us grant in the amount of $15,000. A portion of these funds went toward McPherson’s presentation, as well as expanded training for faculty and staff, and the printing of an enhanced resource guide that was distributed to all students, faculty, administrators and staff, as well as parents.

The 2019 It’s On Us Pennsylvania grant recipients include both public and private, two-year and four-year institutions across the commonwealth. The statewide campaign was launched in 2016, built on the momentum of the national It’s On Us movement.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s policies and programs, visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov.

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