Funds will support programs that improve awareness, remove barriers to reporting, and work on changing campus culture around sexual assault
By Stella Katsipoutis-Varkanis
Earlier this month, Lafayette College was among four Lehigh Valley-area colleges to receive “It’s On Us” grants of up to $30,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Governor’s Office. The grants fund programs that improve awareness, remove barriers to reporting, and work on changing campus culture around sexual assault.
Since 2016, the statewide campaign has awarded 150 grants totaling almost $4 million to more than 70 postsecondary institutions. It aims to support postsecondary institutions’ efforts to create environments in which all community members work together to end sexual violence, the rights of survivors are protected, and appropriate resources and accommodations are available. Lafayette won the grant once before, in 2018.
According to Amanda Hanincik, Lafayette’s director of educational equity and Title IX coordinator, the College is proposing that the grant be used for the “Helping to Create a Safe, Equitable, and Inclusive Lafayette Community” project, which involves new training and innovative programming to address today’s greatest challenges in combating campus sexual assault.
“The 2021 grant project will build upon the success of the 2018 initiatives to create sustainable and institutionalized change on campus,” says Hanincik, who coordinated the College’s grant application efforts. “Open communication is essential for raising awareness about the harsh realities of sexual violence.”
Three key components will be addressed through this grant project, she explains:
This year’s round of “It’s On Us” funding, effective through May 2022, benefits 37 Pennsylvania institutions, including Lafayette College, East Stroudsburg University, Muhlenberg College, and Penn State University, which has a Lehigh Valley campus.