The University of Michigan is among 22 college and universities in the state to receive a portion of more than $500,000 in state funding to support sexual assault prevention efforts.
The Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses each received funding through the state’s Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program.
The funding will be used by each campus to implement innovative, new ideas that focus on changing the culture of sexual assault among the college-age population.
The funding amounts are: $20,003 for Ann Arbor, $38,016 for Dearborn, and $29,363 for Flint.
The grant awards are part of First Lady Susan Snyder’s “Inform. Empower. Prevent. Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault” initiative.
“We’ve long identified a need for new ideas and new approaches to help address sexual assault on campus,” says Holly Rider-Milkovich, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.
“We are excited that the governor and the first lady are encouraging campuses to test new ideas and encouraging collaboration with their communities.”
UM-Dearborn will use the funds to launch “Stand Up, Speak Out: Answering the Call,” a campaign to encourage awareness and action related to campus sexual assault prevention.
Three initiatives fall under the campaign, and include: creating a standing committee for sexual assault awareness and research by the UM-Dearborn Student Government Association that will focus on awareness and fundraising efforts; peer education training programming for students, faculty and staff; and an overall awareness campaign to bring attention to issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking, and promote information, resources and events to the campus community.
UM-Flint will use the funds to support a student project working with the Women’s Educational Center to create an innovative, research-informed and peer-led bystander intervention program. A portion of the funding will be used to create a video that will show how to safely intervene in potentially dangerous situations.
In Ann Arbor, a pilot program is underway to deliver community-based bystander-intervention training to 10 alcohol-serving establishments in the South University Avenue and State Street areas — an area heavily frequented by U-M students.
Under the Raise the Bar program, bar owners, managers, security personnel and other staff receive an initial two-hour bystander skills training, follow-up training in six months, and annual education and training thereafter.
Businesses also commit to promote their commitment to creating a safe environment free of sexual harassment for patrons as well as employees with promotional materials.
“We will assess the value of the program once the pilot is complete and we have more information that will help determine if this is an appropriate approach for our campus and our community,” adds Rider-Milkovich.
“A strong predictor of success for this project is our existing relationships with business owners in the community who also care about this issue.”
The university is partnering with Ann Arbor Campus Community Collaboration to administer the pilot, and will report outcomes to the governor’s office by August 2016.