HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Stopping sexual violence on college campuses is the goal of almost one million dollars in grants being provided to colleges and universities throughout the state. Eyewitness News Harrisburg Reporter Matt Heckel has more.
For the past three years, Pennsylvania has participated in the “It’s on Us” campaign a nationwide initiative to make sure all students are safe on campus.
“I have personally seen the devastating effects that sexual violence has, not only on survivors but on their friends and families” Michael Bilchar is a student at Kutztown University.
In 2016 his school was one of the first to receive a grant as part of the “It’s on Us” initiative.
“Thanks to the funding provided, my campus was able to significantly raise awareness about survivor support resources, the importance of consent, and how to be an active bystander,” said Bilchar.
“An estimated one in five college women are assaulted. One in five to me, that number is heartbreaking” said Governor Tom Wolf
Nearly three million dollars in grants have been provided to campuses over the last three years. And this year Nearly a million more dollars will be granted to 38 colleges and universities.
“We believe that all students, no matter who they are or where they come from, have a right to pursue an education free from violence” noted Tracey Vitchers, Executive Director of “It’s on Us” Campaign.
Schools can use the grants to create programs to address the problem. Either by creating training for students and staff or raising awareness about the resources available to survivors. Now, Governor Wolf is urging lawmakers to pass legislation to make it easier for students to report sexual assaults
“I am determined to make Pennsylvania a shining example to the rest of the world as to what we can do to make our colleges and universities safe” the Governor said.