Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that $1 million It’s On Us PA grants are available to colleges, universities, and postsecondary schools in the state to combat sexual violence.
Inspired by the national It’s On Us movement, It’s On Us PA is a statewide campaign that is designed to bring together college and university administrators, educators, students, families, and community members to pledge to counter sexual violence on campus.
The national It's On Us campaign was first launched in September 2014 by President Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden. The initiative focuses on teaching students about campus sexual assault, helping students to identify dangerous situations, and providing the means to create a campus culture that feels supportive for sexual assault victims. Since the program's beginning in 2014, its chapters have held over 6,000 educational programs on over 500 college campuses across the country.
Since January, 42 institutions of higher education have been awarded grants, including campuses in Philadelphia, such as Temple University and Drexel University.
The funds are used to implement strategies such as removing or reducing barriers that prevent survivors of sexual assault from reporting or accessing resources. It also invites university administrators to pledge to improve their institutions’ cultures surrounding sexual assault and spread awareness on campus about the issue, the PA government reported.
In spring 2017, Penn Athletics became the first Ivy League athletic program to take the It’s On Us pledge against sexual violence.
In July 2019, Governor Wolf signed legislation that was designed to encourage more students to report sexual assault. One of the laws requires postsecondary institutions to offer online, anonymous options for students to report sexual assault. The implemented legislation also protects students reporting sexual assault from being disciplined for violating school drug and alcohol policies.