Saturday, October 22, 2016

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SDSU will receive $200,000 per year for three years to focus on sexual assault prevention and education. Photo: Jim Brady SDSU will receive $200,000 per year for three years to focus on sexual assault prevention and education. Photo: Jim Brady

$200k Grant to Combat Sexual Violence

The grant will fund a full-time sexual assault victim advocate as well as other prevention and education resources and activities.
By Beth Downing Chee

San Diego State University has received a $200,000 grant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to better prevent and respond to incidents of sexual assault on campus.

The grant is part of the Cal OES Campus Sexual Assault Program, which aims to create a comprehensive coordinated response that is survivor-centered, enhances survivor safety, provides confidential services to assault survivors, hold offenders accountable and includes prevention activities.

"For months, administrators from across campus have been meeting to discuss the best ways to combat sexual violence on campus,” said Jessica Rentto, associate vice president for Business and Financial Affairs and Title IX coordinator for SDSU.

“This grant provides SDSU with additional resources allowing us to fund additional positions focused on sexual violence prevention and it provides resources so that SDSU can implement cutting edge programs and activities.  SDSU, together with the San Diego-based Center for Community Solutions, can be a real model for how universities across the country handle the issue of sexual assault.”

Support on and off campus

The grant will allow SDSU to have a full-time sexual assault victim advocate on campus, who will be trained and hired through the Center for Community Solutions. It will also allow for a part-time police officer dedicated to sexual assault prevention, training and investigation.

“CCS is pleased to partner with SDSU.  We have come full circle with the university ever since our organization was started at SDSU in 1969 by two female students who believed in empowering women and girls, and at the time provided safety for those fleeing relationship violence," said Verna Griffin-Tabor, CEO of Center for Community Solutions.

"Each day that we partner together to combat sexual and relationship violence brings us closer to a community where everyone can feel safe on and off campus, and foster a community that believes in violence prevention and social justice,” Griffin-Tabor continued.

SDSU submitted an in-depth proposal to Cal OES in July to be one of two universities to be funded with an annual allocation of up to $200,000 per year for three years. The other university to receive the grant is California State University Long Beach.

SDSU is committing an additional $66,667 of its own resources to support the grant activities. 

The grant will also allow the university to expand its Sexual Violence Task Force to include representatives from community agencies and local law enforcement. This expansion will help SDSU develop a comprehensive and coordinated community response relating to incidents of sexual violence to ensure that survivors are fully supported both on and off campus.

Additional funds will be used for student, faculty and staff trainings, community outreach efforts and educational materials. A portion will also be allocated to student organizations to support events and activities targeted at sexual assault awareness and prevention.

An engaged campus

SDSU recognizes sexual violence as a challenge that universities across the country continue to face, so the university will continue to provide opportunities to the campus community for meaningful dialogue and action related to eliminating sexual violence. Below is a list of activities, events and resources SDSU is offering this semester:

Public Briefings: Beginning in early February, members of the campus Sexual Violence Task Force will give bi-weekly briefings on a variety of topics related to this issue. Discussions may range from the campus judicial process, to survivor support, to open question and answer sessions. The first briefing will be held on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. The location is being determined and more information about these briefings will be forthcoming soon.

Women’s Resource Center: The search process is underway for a coordinator of the soon-to-open Women’s Resource Center, which will foster safe, inclusive and affirming social and educational interactions for women-identified students. The campus community will have the opportunity to meet the finalists for this position at public forums. More information will be forthcoming soon.

Sexual Assault Awareness Week: The student subcommittee of the Sexual Violence Task Force is planning several events to highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Week, April 20-24. These events including guest speakers, training programs, and support for the Womyn’s Outreach Association (WOA) Take Back the Night event, check the Title IX website for updates.

Training: Over the break, Resident Advisors in all residence halls received additional training about reporting sexual violence and supporting victims through the process. Members of the Greek community have scheduled their Agent of Change online training and have participated in dialogues about the role the Greek community plays in sexual violence and its prevention on campus. The Greek community will also host a week of events at the end of February to help discuss and raise awareness about this important issue. More information about the Greek community’s activities can be found here.

Campus Climate Survey: A campus climate survey relating to sexual violence will begin April 6. The purpose of the survey is to gauge the prevalence of sexual assault at SDSU, determine students’ attitudes and awareness about the issue, and help to craft solutions.

It’s On Us Pledge: Students, faculty and staff are invited to take the It’s On Us pledge and promise to help put an end to sexual violence at San Diego State University.

For more information about events and activities, check the university’s Title IX website often.