It's On Us PA Grant to Support New Bystander Intervention Program at Haverford
The $40,000 grant will help remove barriers to reporting incidents of violence and reinforce safety and inclusion on campus.
Haverford College is one of 37 Pennsylvania institutions of higher education to receive an It’s On Us PA grant, The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced. The statewide program, an offshoot of a national campaign introduced under the Obama Administration, is focused on combatting sexual violence on campuses across Pennsylvania. Haverford’s $40,000 grant is the second the College has received through the program, which was launched in 2016, and the funds will support the implementation of a new bystander intervention program.
“The It’s On Us PA campaign cultivates change and provides colleges, universities, and postsecondary career and trade schools with the support and resources necessary to protect learning environments and ensure they are free from sexual assault, harassment, and violence,” says Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “All Pennsylvanians deserve a safe learning environment. By participating in the It’s On Us PA grant program, higher education institutions are making their campus communities safer and more welcoming for the students who call them home.”
In 2021, Haverford received its first It’s On Us PA grant, which supported the College’s quest to identify and develop an anonymous reporting system for incidents of stalking and sexual, domestic, and dating violence. Maxient, the selected system, went online in 2022 and the data it provides is included in the College’s annual security report.
This year’s grant will build on the College’s past work through a new project titled Inform and Empower. It aims to ensure a safe and inclusive campus by removing barriers to reporting instances of violence by promoting education and awareness. Currently, Haverford is exploring a variety of possible training programs with the goal of identifying a solution that will bolster the entire college community’s proficiency in trauma-informed response and what’s known as ‘compassionate interrupting.’ This critical knowledge will better equip members of Campus Safety and the Title IX Hearing and Appeals boards, who serve as first responders and are in the position to help victims of violence cope with immediate trauma.
Implementation during the grant window, which extends through May 31, 2024, will be led by Director of Health and Wellbeing Education Cary Carr, who joined the College in December 2023 and brings with her considerable experience in community- and campus-based work surrounding violence prevention.
“This grant provides us with an amazing opportunity to create a culture of anti-violence on Haverford’s campus in line with our values of trust, concern, and respect,” Carr says. “I’m so excited to work with our students to implement a bystander intervention program and to continue to work toward trauma-informed and compassionate care for those impacted by violence. We believe that through education and support, we can foster a community of students, faculty, and staff that feels empowered to take action against violence and safe to speak up when it occurs.”
Recognizing the role that alcohol plays in sexual assault, Haverford will also develop targeted training for the Quaker Bouncers, a student-led sober monitor program at parties. Inform and Empower will also include a suite of educational materials and a social media campaign that highlight the increased risk of violence as well as barriers to reporting that often mark the experience of disabled students and those who identify as LGBTQIA+.
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. Since the program was introduced in 2016, 301 totaling nearly $8.7 million have been provided to 100 post-secondary institutions across the state.