Last week, IUP announced that the university received $40,000 in funding through the It’s On Us PA initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses.
This initiative was established nearly seven years ago by former Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf. It was the nation’s first statewide initiative to combat campus sexual assault and violence.
This is the sixth time that IUP has received funding from It’s On Us. Past awards were received in 2016 and every year from 2018 to 2021.
IUP plans to use the funding for two initiatives in the local area:
The first is to expand IUP’s partnership with the Alice Paul House (APH), which is Indiana County’s comprehensive victims’ service organization. It provides trauma focused advocacy and empowerment to victims, as well as survivors of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault.
This grant will help the APH tailor its programming to students, including residence life staff, Greek life students and student-athletes. It will focus on warning signs, resources and reporting obligations related to domestic violence.
The university also said that APH will continue to participate in IUP’s annual Take Back the Night Event. This annual event, designed to raise awareness of sexual assault and provide support to survivors, typically draws more than a thousand participants. Grant funding will be used to support the APH’s resource tables and advocates. The funding will also be used to purchase t-shirts for students that include contact information for on- and off-campus resources and the APH 24-hour hotline.
The second initiative is to expand IUP’s Togetherall program, which is a national online program that provides students with free, 24/7 access to online peer-to-peer mental health support.
IUP first implemented the Togetherall program for the fall 2022 semester. Michelle Fryling, IUP’s Executive Director for Media Relations, said that approximately fifteen percent of students who were served at the counseling center also utilized the Togetherall programming.
“IUP takes our shared responsibility to protect each other from sexual violence in all forms very seriously,” said IUP President Michael Driscoll. “We have launched and sustained significant efforts to ensure that all our students, faculty, and staff have been trained to prevent sexual violence and to support victims, and we continue to be pleased to be among the first universities signing Governor Wolf's It's On Us PA pledge.”
Driscoll also stated that he is, “pleased that grant funds will help to support Togetherall.”
Dr. Jessica Miller said, “the grant funds new initiatives to help to ensure that IUP students are aware and can access critical resources in our community.”
Dr. Jessica Miller is the chair of the IUP Counseling Center and director of The Haven Project, which is an organization that supports students who experience sexual and relationship violence. They also focus on educating students about these issues. Miller and her offices work closely with the Social Equity and Title IX office to address these issues here at IUP.
The Social Equity and Title IX office, as well as The Haven Project will both be “actively involved” in the partnership with the APH to update the university’s educational programs on sexual, dating and domestic violence, including stalking education prevention and response.
“With help from It’s On Us funding from previous years, the university has worked diligently to improve its response to sexual violence,” said Miller.
“Those efforts have included providing extensive training to show bystanders how they can intervene to prevent sexual assault, revising policies on sexual misconduct, and improving processes for reporting sexual assault, including giving an option for anonymous reporting,” she added.
“We have a very positive working relationship with the Alice Paul House,” said Elise Glenn, IUP’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer/Title IX Coordinator. “This grant will help us to fund new initiatives to strengthen our connections through a formal memorandum of understanding that will include increased collaboration, cross-training in policies and procedures, new training, and program opportunities for our employees and students.”
There are many resources for those who have been impacted by sexual assault and/or domestic violence. The Haven Project and the counseling center are both located on the ground floor of the Suites on Maple East. The Social Equity and Title IX office is located in room B-17 of Delaney Hall. Additionally, the APH can be reached by dialing this number: 724-349-4444
These resources can also be reached via email:
The Haven Project – email@example.com
Counseling Center – firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Equity and Title IX – email@example.com
Alice Paul House – firstname.lastname@example.org