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Edit (2/16): The “It’s On Us” program will be continuing at WCU despite ongoing grant status

This year’s $950,000+ grant to post-secondary schools through the “It’s On Us” PA program continues Governor Tom Wolf’s series of annual sexual misconduct prevention grants –  however, unlike other years, West Chester University has not been listed as a recipient.

While nearby Cheyney and Immaculata University will receive funding to further anti-misconduct efforts, West Chester will not be included in Gov. Wolf’s 2020 grant plan.

The “It’s On Us” PA series of grants have been awarded annually since 2016, when the Pennsylvania chapter of the federal program was opened by Gov. Wolf. WCU received grants in 2018 ($29,996) and 2019 ($16,000) intended for the improvement of university resources.

This includes, but is not limited to “campus-wide training for students, faculty and staff; institutional campaigns to raise awareness and understanding;… programs that enhance awareness of available resources and students’ rights;… and efforts to improve capacity to collect federal- or state-required data.”

WCU’s absence from the 36 institutions receiving grants in 2020 is not unprecedented, although other schools such as Immaculata and Mercyhurst University have received more consistent support from the “It’s On Us” PA grants.

“Priority will be given to proposals that focus on addressing the goals of the Governor’s ‘It’s On Us’ PA grant program, institutions that have taken the ‘It’s On Us’ PA pledge, institutions that have not previously received an ‘It’s On Us’ PA grant and institutions compliant with reporting requirements,” the grant application FAQ reads.

With more than four years and $4 million invested in the “It’s On Us” PA program, Tom Wolf’s commitment to the Obama-Biden federal program is evident, only reaffirmed in the wake of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ proposed Title IX amendments. Last year’s grant followed DeVos’ announcement of her intent to narrow the definition of sexual assault and misconduct and to tighten the qualifications of assaults for which schools are mandated to report. “We need to pay more attention to victims [and] survivors, and make sure their due process is addressed,” Wolf said, following remarks by a national “It’s On Us” representative that lauded the Pennsylvania group’s efforts.

The 2020 grant will be split among the following schools: Albright College, Bloomsburg University, Bryn Mawr College, Butler County Community College, Chatham University, Cheyney University, Clarion University, Community College of Allegheny County, Curtis Institute of Music, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, Gannon University, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Holy Family University, Peirce College, Penn State University, Immaculata University, Indiana University of PA, Keystone College, Lehigh University, Lock Haven University, Lycoming College, Manor College, Marywood University, Mercyhurst University, Millersville University, Point Park University, Rosemont College, Saint Francis University, Saint Joseph’s University, Shippensburg University, South Hills School of Business & Technology, St. Vincent College, Thiel College, University of Pittsburgh, Waynesburg University and Wilkes University.

Brendan Lordan is a third-year student majoring in English writing and minoring in journalism.

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