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LHU gets state grant to combat campus sexual assault

HARRISBURG — Nearly $1 million in grants from the Wolf Administration to combat campus sexual assault at 36 colleges and universities, including Lock Haven University, were announced this week.

A steadfast supporter of campus safety, Gov. Tom Wolfe established It’s On Us PA, the nation’s first statewide campaign, four years ago.

“Every student, teacher, administrator and visitor to our campuses deserves a safe environment free from harassment,” said Governor Wolf. “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.”

It’s On Us is a national initiative championed by President Barack Obama. With today’s announcement, the Wolf Administration has invested a total of nearly $4 million for It’s On Us 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,” said Education Secretary Rivera. “Through Governor Wolf’s continued commitment to this important initiative, we are implementing strategies that elevate awareness, engage communities and improve institutional campus climates.”

It’s On Us Executive Director Tracey Vitchers joined Secretary Rivera for today’s announcement and thanked Pennsylvania for its leadership.

“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,” Vitchers said.

Colleges and universities use the grants to create programs ranging from campus-wide training for students, faculty and staff, to institutional campaigns to raise awareness of the reporting process and the resources available to survivors of sexual violence.

The 2019-20 It’s On Us PA recipients include public and private institutions in every corner of the state. The colleges and universities enroll a total of nearly 250,000 students. Of those students, more than 62,000 live on campus.

Last July, Gov. Wolf signed legislation, championed by Rep. Dan Frankel and Sen. Lisa Baker, that requires post-secondary institutions to offer online, anonymous options for students to report sexual assaults. Many of this year’s grant recipients will be using the funds to implement those systems, which must be in place by the end of June.

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