Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that St. Vincent College is one of 37 higher education institutions to be awarded the 2021 “It’s On Us PA” grant, aimed at supporting Title IX programming and resources to combat sexual assault on college campuses. This marks the fourth consecutive year in which St. Vincent College has been named a recipient of the grant.
“Sexual violence will not be tolerated,” Wolf said in a news release. “All colleges and universities must be safe for students. The ‘It’s On Us PA’ grant program was created to provide colleges and universities with support and resources necessary to shift campus culture and promote healthy relationships. Students, staff and educators across the commonwealth have done tremendous work through ‘It’s On Us PA’ to protect learning environments and ensure they are free from sexual assault, harassment and violence. These grants will further build on the work they have done to hold people accountable.”
Eileen K. Flinn, Esq., the St. Vincent College’s designated Title IX coordinator, explained that the grant will be utilized by launching the “It’s On All of Us, Bearcats!” initiative, which will involve all members of the St. Vincent community and align with the ‘It’s On Us PA’ goals of improving awareness, prevention and reporting of sexual violence; reducing barriers that prevent victims of sexual violence from reporting; and demonstrating significant, proactive and sustainable leadership to change institutional culture.
“St. Vincent appreciates the confidence the Commonwealth has once again shown in our proposal by awarding the College its fourth It’s On Us PA grant,” Flinn stated. “This new funding will allow us to build upon our prior efforts and continue the work of our Office of Student Affairs through the Healthy Relationships program, as well as expand and customize training and education opportunities for students, faculty and staff, and encourage student engagement by assisting student clubs and organizations to become more involved. With the recent changes to the federal Title IX regulations last summer, the need for this is even more apparent.”
The “It’s On All of Us, Bearcats!” initiative will be comprised of five objectives.
St. Vincent College will develop a new interactive, online, e-learning module that will provide sexual violence awareness and prevention information for first-year students, addressing topics including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and consent and bystander intervention. Planned for fall 2021, the module will feature St. Vincent employees, faculty and students and will serve as an introduction for prevention and violence reduction concepts.
The college will develop and provide expanded training for confidential employees and confidential support persons, and increase the number of staff members designated as confidential support persons. Working with the Blackburn Center, St. Vincent will provide a series of trainings specific to the role of confidential employees and confidential support persons on specific topics that can increase the safety and autonomy of a person disclosing gender-based violence.
The college will create programming and support opportunities for student groups and organizations to spread awareness and conduct prevention activities, such as panels and presentations. Along with developing its own activities, the College will support student organizations and clubs in organizing their own activities focused on sexual violence awareness and prevention.
St. Vincent College will provide training to its entire prefect staff (45 students), and up to 10 additional students, to serve as peer educators in the college’s healthy relationships curriculum. The prefects and students will serve as peer educators and help teach students to establish and nourish healthy friendships and relationships in a confidential, comfortable and enjoyable format. Training will be led by St. Vincent College faculty members.
The college will provide every member of the St. Vincent community (students, faculty, staff and administrators) a copy of a revised and revamped “Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Resource Guide.” Originally developed in 2016, the resource guide is a comprehensive booklet with information on what type of behavior is inappropriate, how to report inappropriate behavior and how to get help if victimized. The updated booklets will reflect changes made to Title IX by the federal government in August 2020.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Education remains committed to investing in efforts that help ensure that campuses remain safe, inclusive and welcome spaces that are conducive to learning,” said Noe Ortega, acting secretary of education. “The ‘It’s On Us PA’ campaign has cultivated change on campuses across the commonwealth, and PDE is once again pleased to support programs that increase awareness and strive to end sexual violence.”
Since its launch in 2016, 150 “It’s On Us PA” grants have been awarded, totaling nearly $4 million, to more than 70 institutions, including public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities.
For more information on St. Vincent College’s Title IX policies and procedures, visit https://www.stvincent.edu/resources/title-ix/index.html.