Grant to help lo­cal col­leges con­front sex­ual vi­o­lence

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Jean Mar­bella jmar­bella@balt­sun.com

A coali­tion of Bal­ti­more-area col­leges headed by Loy­ola Univer­sity Mary­land has re­ceived a $750,000 grant to pre­vent and in­ves­ti­gate sex­ual as­sault and dat­ing vi­o­lence, and to im­prove vic­tim ser­vices.

The grant is part of $25 mil­lion in fund­ing an­nounced this week by the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment’s Of­fice on Vi­o­lence Against Women to ad­dress what has be­come a heated is­sue on cam­puses across the coun­try.

In ad­di­tion to Loy­ola, the Bal­ti­more Area Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Coali­tion against Sex­ual Vi­o­lence in­cludes the Com­mu­nity Col­lege of Bal­ti­more County, Cop­pin State Univer­sity, Goucher Col­lege, McDaniel Col­lege, Mary­land In­sti­tute Col­lege of Art, Notre Dame of Mary­land Univer­sity, Steven­son Univer­sity, Tow­son Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Mary­land, Bal­ti­more County. Loy­ola said more than 125,000 stu­dents at­tend and travel fre­quently among these schools.

“Our or­ga­ni­za­tions are united against sex­ual as­sault and dat­ing vi­o­lence, and com­mit­ted to creat­ing a safer, more se­cure en­vi­ron­ment for col­lege stu­dents,” said Kat­sura Ku­rita, as­sis­tant vice pres­i­dent for stu­dent de­vel­op­ment and Ti­tle IX deputy co­or­di­na­tor for stu­dents at Loy­ola. “We will make ex­po­nen­tially more progress by work­ing to­gether along with our cam­pus part­ners on vi­tal ini­tia­tives that will im­prove vic­tim ser­vices and pre­vent fu­ture vi­o­lence on our cam­puses and in our re­gion, and there is an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity for our ef­forts to have an even greater im­pact with the sup­port of this new fund­ing from the Depart­ment of Jus­tice.”

The col­leges hope to en­hance how they re­spond to sex­ual vi­o­lence, in­crease ac­cess to ser­vices for sur­vivors and de­velop in­for­ma­tive videos and mo­bile apps.

Col­leges have been wrestling with the is­sue in re­cent years, and the fed­eral Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing more than 200 cam­puses, in­clud­ing some in Mary­land, for how they re­spond to al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault. Ti­tle IX requires col­leges to re­spond to sex­ual as­sault claims as they would other forms of gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion.

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