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Local college receives grant to fight sexual assault

Lycoming College will receive $29,808 in funding through the “It’s On Us” state grant program to improve campus security and provide resources to reduce the risk of sexual assault. The announcement was recently made by state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township.

According to Kate Hummel, associate dean of students at Lycoming College, the grant will be used to establish a new program at the college– Lycoming SOARs: Dedication to Sexual Violence Outreach, Awareness, and Response.

“This new program will allow Lycoming College to continue to provide readily available victim services advocates for counseling and support, right on our campus through Wise Options. The grant also allows for the promotion of these services through print pieces,” Hummel said.

“As part of the grant, the college also will work to further a culture of healthy masculinity on campus with outside speakers to address the topics of sexual violence prevention, men’s identity, college men’s issues and leadership. In addition, the college will work to improve its reporting system, enhancing both accessibility and awareness of the tool, as well as the anonymity the tool affords students who report through the system,” she added.

The grant was awarded through the state’s Department of Education as part of a national initiative to raise awareness of campus security risks and improve reporting of sexual assault on college campuses. Lycoming College is one of 36 public and private colleges and universities serving nearly 250,000 students that will share in $1 million award.

Since 2016, 113 “It’s On Us” state grants have been awarded totaling nearly $3 million to more than 60 postsecondary institutions across the state, including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Programs or activities considered for funding include campus-wide training for students, faculty and staff; institutional campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the reporting process and rights of survivors of sexual violence; programs that enhance awareness of available resources and students’ rights or seek to increase mechanisms for anonymous reporting; and efforts to improve capacity to collect federal- or state-required data.

“It’s On Us” PA is a statewide campaign that invites everyone to play a role in ending sexual assault. Building off the momentum of the national “It’s On Us” movement, “It’s On Us” PA brings together college and university presidents, superintendents, administrators, teachers, students, families, and community members to reframe the conversation around sexual violence and pledge to be part of the solution.

“Lycoming College feels strongly that educational institutions play a key role in helping to end sexual violence. ‘It’s On Us’ will help Lycoming graduate informed students who actively work to keep their communities safe,” Hummel said.

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