WEST CHESTER (January 5, 2021) − Two universities in Chester County will receive nearly $50,000 in total state funding to prevent and combat sexual assault on campus.

“Our colleges, universities, and institution of higher education must offer safe, healthy, and productive learning environments for all,” said State Senator Comitta. “These grants will directly support programs and efforts based on a culture of respect, and dignity for everyone.”

The funding comes through It’s On Us PA, a statewide program created to provide colleges and universities with the support and resources necessary to shift campus culture and promote healthy relationships.

The Chester County recipients are as follows:

  • West Chester University: $29,574.00
  • Lincoln University: $30,000.00

Established by Governor Wolf in 2016, It’s On Us PA is the nation’s first statewide campaign to improve campus safety by supporting colleges and university communities in reframing the conversation around sexual violence and empowering them to develop solutions.

The West Chester University and Lincoln University grants come as part of 37 postsecondary institutions across the Commonwealth selected to receive more than $1 million in total funding to implement programs and strategies from January 2021 through May 2022.

Eligible programs or activities considered for funding included campus-wide training for students, faculty, and staff; institutional campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the reporting process and resources available to 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.

“Sexual violence will not be tolerated,” said Governor Wolf. “All colleges and universities must be safe for students.

“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.”

The It’s On Us PA Program aims to:

  1. Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems regarding sexual violence in schools, colleges, and universities to better serve all students.
  2. Remove/reduce barriers that prevent survivors of sexual violence from reporting and/or accessing vital resources by creating a more consistent, empowering reporting process for student survivors of gender-based violence.
  3. Demonstrate significant, proactive, and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging Pennsylvania’s education leaders – including college and university presidents, as well as students, teachers, faculty, staff, families, and communities to pledge to improve their institutions’ climate around sexual assault.

“PDE remains committed to investing in efforts that help ensure that campuses remain safe, inclusive, and welcoming spaces that are conducive to learning,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “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 2016, more than 150 It’s On Us PA grants totaling nearly $4 million have been awarded to more than 70 post-secondary institutions, including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities.