Cabrini’s efforts to impede, address, and respond proactively to sexual violence have been recognized with a fourth Governor’s It’s on Us PA Grant. To run from January 2021 through May 2022, the $30,000 award will support the University’s goals to increase awareness of bystander intervention and prevention efforts and to engage student-athletes and student leaders in improving the campus culture regarding sexual violence.
“We look forward to working with Cabrini University as you work to prevent, address, and respond effectively to sexual violence through this grant program,” wrote Tanya Garcia, Acting Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for Postsecondary and Higher Education, in the award letter.
Launched in 2016, the Governor’s It’s On Us PA Grant Program aims to support postsecondary institutions’ efforts to create campus environments in which all community members work together to end sexual violence and where the rights of survivors are protected and appropriate resources and accommodations are available. Cabrini was one of 42 colleges and universities across the state to receive an It’s on Us grant in January 2021.
“We are honored to receive this grant, which is critical to continuing the conversation about the prevention of sexual assault, the importance of bystander intervention, and the importance of educating our student leaders on campus so they can be good bystanders,” said project director Colleen Lelli, EdD, Associate Professor, Education, and Director, Barbara and John Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education.
The grant will support the Jordan Center’s annual Domestic Violence Symposium, scheduled for October 2021, which will feature sessions on sexual assault prevention and education about policies and avenues for reporting. Community partners Delaware County Women Against Rape (DCWAR), Mission Kids (a child advocacy center), and Laurel House (a comprehensive domestic violence agency) will also be involved in the symposium. DCWAR provided valuable input during the 2019-2020 academic year, when the University reviewed its sexual misconduct policies.
“Bystander intervention is the idea that preventing sexual harassment and assault is everyone’s responsibility,” Lelli said. “The It’s on Us PA grant will continue to advance Cabrini’s mission to be the gold standard for educating students about sexual assault.”
With funding from a previous It’s on Us grant, Cabrini invited Sarah Klein, the first known survivor of convicted serial child molester Larry Nassar, to speak to student-athletes, coaches, staff, faculty, and administrators on campus. Her compelling, honest message inspired members of the University’s Student Athlete Advisory Council (STAAC) to become catalysts for change for sexual assault awareness. The 2021 grant will allow Cabrini to welcome Klein back to campus later this year to share her energy and enthusiasm.
“We wanted to continue the message that Sarah Klein has been an advocate for,” said Tyler Timson (’21), a former basketball player involved with STAAC, who, along with a couple other student-athletes, had the opportunity to talk with Klein during her first visit to Cabrini. “Hearing her talk about her experience made us want to do what we could to continue the conversation. It lit a fire in me that I always had but never had a voice to share.”
The It’s on Us grant will also provide funding for sexual assault trainings for student peer trainers and online training for faculty and staff, as well as promotion of Cabrini’s anonymous reporting system, Ethics Point. This spring, Cabrini will show the film The Bystander Moment: Transforming Rape Culture at its Roots.