Grant funding for large-scale campus safety initiatives at U.S. colleges and universities is best illustrated by the Reducing Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking on Campus Program. Sponsored by the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence against Women (OVW), this grant supports efforts to create or revitalize campus responses to sexual misconduct. Such efforts can be customized to fit the unique needs and population of your campus so long as these efforts demonstrate to every student that such crimes will not be tolerated, that perpetrators will face serious consequences, and that holistic services are available for survivors.
· Potential Grant-Funded Activities: (1) Developing victim services and programs; (2) Improving offender accountability; and (3) Implementing effective prevention approaches, including campus safety technology purchases.
· Eligible Applicants: Two- or four-year colleges and universities
· Award Amounts: Up to 40 awards are expected in 2018, with total project funding amounts varying based on the number of campuses included in the application:
o Single Campus - Up to $300,000.
o Consortia of 2-5 campuses - Up to $550,000.
o Consortia of 5+ campuses - Up to $750,000.
· Cost sharing/matching Requirements: None.
· Project Period: Up to 36-months.
Interested in applying? Here are three steps your college or university could take in preparation today:
1. Bring together the Program Partners - Grant applicants should create a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) team that addresses sexual violence on campus. The actual make-up of a CCR team will vary across campuses, but generally includes such entities as:
· On-Campus Partners: Administrators, Faculty, and Students; Student affairs officials; Title IX and Clery Act coordinators; Public safety leaders; Campus judicial board members; Representatives from student life organizations, such as housing, Greek Life, and athletics.
· Off-Campus Partners: Local law enforcement agencies; Legal assistance entities; Sexual violence victim service providers
Once assembled, the CCR team would work to improve coordination between agencies, and oversee changes in practice and policy that improve how future sexual misconduct cases are handled. Each participating entity should sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - formally establishing the CCR team and outlining expectations for all members. You can then refer back to this document while moving forward to effectively prepare for- and respond to- sexual misconduct on campus. For more information, check out the US Department of Justice’s Minimum Standards for Creating a Coordinated Community Response to Violence Against Women on Campus.
2. Plan for Grant-funded Activities – Once the CCR team is in place, begin designing the various activities that will be completed over the course of the 36-month project period. Again, these undertakings will look different across each campus, but should at the very least include:
· Establishing a mandatory prevention and education program for all incoming students. This program provides students with a general awareness of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, while also highlighting relevant resources available on- and off-campus. If you already have a program like this on campus, consider enhancing it to include bystander intervention, challenging social norms, and victim empowerment.
· Providing 24-hour victim services and advocacy. These services can be located on-campus or through a partnership with a community-based victim service provider.
· Training campus law enforcement and campus disciplinary boards to respond effectively to sexual misconduct on campus. The OVW is rather specific on what these training sessions entail. Mandatory topics include: (1) reviewing relevant state and federal laws; (2) reviewing the student conduct code; (3) identifying technology-facilitated stalking behaviors; (4) identifying alcohol and drug facilitated sexual assault; and (5) determining an appropriate range of sanctions for violators. For a complete list of previous training topics, check out Page 5 of the 2016 Program Guidance.
3. Develop a budget – Begin soliciting quotes from vendors, contractors, and consultants. As you build a budget, be sure that each expense is clearly linked to a specific project activity. For example, if your request includes funding for a full time Sexual Assault Program Coordinator, outline that position’s daily activities and the percentage of time devoted to grant-funded project activities. Similarly, if your request includes facility improvements, such as blue-light phones or lighting in highly trafficked areas, explain how such enhancements will assist in reducing sexual misconduct on campus.
Proposals for the Campus Program are expected to be due in February 2018. While that deadline may seem far off, we suggest you start assembling these various pieces early! Successful applicants often begin proposal preparation three to six months ahead of time. Utilize this lead time to break down “silo” walls between campus departments, mobilize community partners, plan grant funded activities, and set up that program budget.