Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Lycoming College to implement sexual assault education with $300,000 Department of Justice grant

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has awarded Lycoming College a $300,000, three-year grant to implement a comprehensive, campus-wide sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking (SV/DV) prevention program. Lycoming was chosen as the grant recipient for its already well-established foundation of educating its college community on sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking. These existing programs will be further bolstered by expanded partnerships with outside agencies, which this grant will enable.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, nearly one in five undergraduate women experience sexual assault or attempted assault while in college. Title IX requires schools to address sexual violence promptly, thoroughly and fairly, and to ensure that the incident does not interfere with a student’s ability to continue his or her education, or create a hostile environment. The Lycoming College SV/DV project promotes a culture of “upstanding,” whereby students, faculty and staff proactively create a campus free from SV/DV through prevention and response.

The grant is through the DOJ Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) under the Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking on Campus program. The OVW provides federal leadership in developing the national capacity to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The SV/DV project, led by Kate Hummel, associate dean of students, will endeavor to carry out the mission of the OVW on the Lycoming campus.

Hummel will work with a full-time program coordinator to establish the Sexual Violence Coordinated Community Alliance (SVCCA), which will drive the strengthening of victim services and prevention education. Further efforts will see the College partner with local victim service provider Wise Options, as well as the Williamsport Bureau of Police, to provide training for faculty, staff, campus security and Conduct Boards to implement victim-centered, trauma-informed responses to SV/DV. Additionally, the College will conduct universal and mandatory prevention education that reaches all students, including bystander education, through Catharsis Productions “U Got This” program; enhanced orientation for new students; “Bringing in the Bystander;” the “Red Flag Program;” and Men Can Stop Rape presentations for male athletes and fraternity members. International students and students traveling abroad will receive pre-departure and new arrival orientations to learn about supportive policies that address their unique vulnerability to SV/DV.

“SV/DV prevention and ongoing education is not a destination but a pursuit. With this perspective we are always looking for additional ways to educate the campus community on related matters,” said Dan Miller, vice president for student life at Lycoming College. “Lycoming remains dedicated to providing a high-quality liberal arts and sciences education for all students, and the programs we will now be able to implement will help to ensure that sexual assault does not interfere with or interrupt any student’s pursuit of a meaningful education and career.”