AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a three-year, $270,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women that will be used to develop an online course for first-year students on sexual violence and bystander intervention as well as other educational programs.
The project is one of 28 selected for funding in fiscal 2013. The Office on Violence Against Women received 127 applications for more than $35 million in grants.
The primary university partners in the proposal are the Center for Women & Community, the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office, the Dean of Students and the UMass Police Department, while the off-campus collaborators are Safe Passage, the community-based domestic violence program, and the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.
“This grant reflects our broad-based approach to addressing important issues that affect the lives and academic success of students at UMass Amherst,” says Enku Gelaye, interim vice chancellor for students and campus life and dean of students. “This funding will help us in our continuing effort to promote a healthy, safe and respectful community on our campus.”
Along with the mandatory course for incoming students, the grant will support the establishment of a Title IX subcommittee that will review best practices, evaluate campus policies and protocols and recommend any needed changes to the university’s Title IX Coordination Team. Other work will focus on the development and distribution of resource and outreach materials, including online and print materials.
The federal Grant to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking on Campus will also underwrite the development of online training tools for the UMass Police Department to employ best practices in law enforcement for responding to sexual and relationship violence and stalking. Continued training for campus judicial hearing boards and staff of the Dean of Students Office is also planned under the grant.
The Center for Women & Community is the lead department and will coordinate grant activities including hiring and housing two campus program staff who will oversee the accomplishment of grant goals and organize staff teams to attend technical assistance conferences.