UArts Receives First It's On Us PA Grant
December 14, 2021
University of the Arts is one of 34 Pennsylvania institutions of higher education to receive an It's On Us PA grant, Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week. Replicating the federal It's On Us campaign, Governor Wolf introduced the grant program in 2016 focused on combatting sexual violence on campuses by supporting initiatives and strategies that bolster awareness, prevention, reporting and response systems. This is the first It's On Us PA grant UArts has received.
"Pennsylvania's colleges and universities must be a safe space for students to learn and grow without fear of violence, harassment, or abuse," Gov. Wolf said in announcing the 2022 grants. "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."
UArts received a grant of $25,000. The funding will address a pressing need as students become reacquainted with life on campus following the social isolation spurred by COVID-19 and the limited number of educational events addressing sexual assault, consent and healthy relationships available during the pandemic.
"I'm incredibly excited that UArts has the opportunity to not only address sexual violence prevention and education at our institution but also to contribute to the narrative," said Lauri Millot, director of Title IX, equity and compliance at University of the Arts. "UArts students have the skill set and vision to create a film that is relevant, giving voice to the experiences of students, valuing inclusivity, challenging negative stereotypes and victim blaming, and acknowledging bad behavior in a way that we believe will foster a safer learning environment and campus community."
UArts will leverage the grant to create an innovative and authentic docu-fiction film that addresses sexual assault and intervention from a student perspective, capitalizing on the boundless creativity of its diverse community of artists, performers, designers, and leaders. The film, highly reflective of the university community's values, will provide students with a hands-on opportunity to work closely with several of UArts' award-winning faculty filmmakers.
With guidance from Millot, UArts students will begin a dialog to explore student perceptions and experiences relative to risk. They will also be encouraged to highlight their view of effective and appropriate intervention techniques and provide insight on the university's current prevention and response approach. This work, expected to begin in January, will inform the script and overall production, resulting in a film that identifies and challenges all manner of power differentials and aims to reduce the effect of the bystander phenomenon. In addition, the film will be shared across a wide array of platforms, ensuring that it can be accessed virtually.
The It's On Us campaign is a national initiative to raise awareness about sexual assault; teaching participants that assault includes non-consensual sex, advising them on how to identify dangerous situations, empowering them to intervene, and urging them to create an environment of support for victims and survivors. Since 2016, Gov. Wolf's administration has awarded over 190 It's On Us PA grants totaling nearly $4 million to more than 75 postsecondary institutions, including public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
All Pennsylvanians are invited to visit the It's On Us PA page on Gov. Wolf's website and take the pledge to "recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.