Kat Virula

News Editor

On Jan. 16, 2020, Millersville University shared it’s $1 million grant to 36 colleges and universities to combat sexual assault, thanks to the “It’s On Us” initiative. Millersville’s portion of the grant is $29,995.

Millersville’s Title IX Coordinator, Elizabeth Swantek is thrilled about the open opportunities the grant will put forth, 

“It’s very exciting for the university and for us, because over the last four years, we’ve been able to receive some form of funding through ‘It’s On Us’ campaign and the grant through Pennsylvania,” she said. She felt that it is important to get the message out in order to really diminish the impediment, 

“It is very difficult to speak out about any kind of assault. Plus they don’t know what the process is like. It’s because there’s a stigma around reporting. So anything that we can do in order to prevent that stigma, I think is helpful because I know that some individuals, they don’t know what goes on, so they don’t want to report it because they’re like, ‘Are people going to believe me? “Is this actually going to help me or is it gonna make it worse?” Swantek quotes. 

As stated on the Millersville University website, Millersville is strongly committed to maintaining a positive learning, working and living for all and assuring it’s educational and employment environment is free from unlawful discrimination or harassment. Swantek goes around campus to educate students, faculty, and staff about the resources available. However, she explicitly mentions that she can’t persuade everyone to speak out and use those resources if they aren’t ready to.   

“I think that is probably what says the unknown is so scary. So being able to really get out there, and then reach out to individuals.” she states. 

According to Millersville Blogs, there’s an extensive list of Millersville programs that students have been able to participate in because of the grant. Swantek’s brief discloses these programs for the upcoming year, 

“We’re in the process of recreating and rebranding[the] ‘It’s On Us’ Group here on campus,,” she explained. “One of the programs she described was a trauma-informed yoga session, which is “separate from that, and in addition to counseling that we offer,and then [enhances] the training materials for our Veterans Resource Center, our international students.”

Right now, the program is only in English. Swantek is therefore offering the support guides in different languages, and “then really working on it for next January.” 

Swantek wants to push forward the issue on stalking because January is Stalking Awareness Month. Swantek wants more educational initiatives on stalking, such as raising the understanding of stalking. According to the Stalking Resource Center, over 7.5 million people are stalked each in the United States. Stalking is often committed by someone the victim knows, and stalking by an intimate partner is the most common and the most dangerous type of stalking. “It’s an area of education that we can work on.”

Swantek is also going to be launching a climate survey this year. The climate survey will dictate what the next steps will be and will focus on students to see the educational efforts and where Millresville can improve on. 

Millersville plans to create a large scale It’s On Us kick-off event for our community. It will also continue to offer enhanced training and materials. Millersville will be working with Veterans Resource Center, International Programs, and Student Access and Success. It will also collaborate with other PASSHE schools. 

“The grant gives us the opportunity to continue to implement strategies and take the pledge that is it on all of us to listen, support and report concerns of sexual misconduct in order to create an environment in which sexual misconduct is unacceptable,” Swantek states.