York College to receive grant to fight sexual assault

Alyssa Pressler
  • York College is among 36 higher education institutions receiving a grant from the governor's office.
  • The grant is a part of the "It's On Us PA" campaign and will help address campus sexual assault.

On Nov. 29, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that 36 higher education institutions would receive grants to address campus sexual assault, and York College was among those on the list.

The grants were awarded to community colleges and independent and public two-year and four-year colleges and universities. They aim to further Wolf's It's On Us PA campaign, a statewide campaign that emphasizes bystander involvement in situations in which sexual assault may occur. York College received $17,090 from the grant, according to a news release sent by the college.

According to a release put out by Wolf's office, the money will go to strategies on campuses that address the campaign goals. These goals include improving awareness, prevention, reporting and response systems on campuses; removing barriers that might prevent a sexual assault survivor from reporting; and changing campus culture to improve each school's climate.

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

York College stated it will use the money to further current initiatives on campus by offering more sexual assault prevention programs to employees and students. The college also will use the funds for a poster campaign focusing on prevention of interpersonal violence, according to a news release.

The college also said it is partnering with the YWCA for the training sessions and poster campaigns, particularly for Dating Violence Awareness Month in February 2017.

The news release stated that more than 60 applicants statewide competed for the funding. Applicants were required to state in detail what programs or activity the grants would be used for, budget information for these goals and the expected outcomes, among other aspects.

This is not the first time this year York College has received funds to combat sexual assault on campus. In October, the college received a $293,000 grant from the Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women. The money was used to establish the "York College It's On Us" initiative, which included hiring a full-time director to oversee and coordinate all sexual assault prevention efforts.

York College gets funds to help sexual assault survivors

Additionally, new this semester is the LiveSafe mobile application, which provides services such as a virtual escort, a safety map and anonymous tip reporting. York College had partnered with the "It's On Us PA" and the "It's On Us" national campaigns to educate students about preventing sexual assault and encourage more bystander intervention on campus prior to receiving both grants.

“The goals we have set for this project align closely with the mission of Gov. Wolf’s ‘It’s On Us PA’ campaign,” said college President Pamela Gunter-Smith in a news release. “Each speaks to York College’s intention to improve campuswide awareness, prevention and reporting of sexual violence by encouraging employees and students to take part in sexual assault prevention programming. We are pleased to receive this grant to assist with our efforts.”