Gannon, LECOM and Mercyhurst receive grants to combat sexual assault on campus

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As part of Governor Tom Wolf’s It’s On Us PA campaign, Gannon University, LECOM and Mercyhurst University will each receive $30,000 in grants in attempt to stop sexual abuse in the commonwealth.

The universities are three of 34 schools in Pennsylvania to receive these grants, which total over $925,000.

“Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities must be a safe space for students to learn and grow without fear of violence, harassment, or abuse,” said Governor Wolf. “Each one of us has a responsibility to promote healthy relationships, and the It’s On Us PA grant program was created to provide pathways to trainings and resources that improve campus culture and engagement.”

The campaign is a national initiative to raise awareness about sexual assault, including teaching that assault includes non-consensual sex, how to identify dangerous situations, when to intervene and how to create a supportive environment.

“College campuses should be safe havens where students feel confident to pursue their hopes and dreams,” said State Representative Bob Merski, D-Erie. “This new funding will help ensure that Erie campuses have the proper security in place to deter crime and allow students to thrive and learn.”

The grants provide funding from January 2022 through May 2023 for the universities to improve awareness, prevention, reporting and response systems to change the culture and improve the climate around sexual violence in schools.

“No student should ever have to worry about facing the threat of an assault on campus,” said State Representative Pat Harkins, D-Erie. “Securing this funding is going to bring new resources to ensure students remain safe and, equally important, enjoy peace of mind.”

Fellow State Representative Ryan Bizzarro said everyone needs to do their part in the fight against sexual assault.

“Colleges and Universities in the region are where students learn free of any fear of harassment or abuse,” said Rep. Bizzarro. “We all have a responsibility to address the problem of sexual violence in our Commonwealth and these funds ensure three of our area schools will work on solutions to make their campuses free of it.”

The list of awardees can be found HERE.

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