Utica College Awarded DoJ Grant to Aid in Safety, Prevention Measures
College to Implement Safe Trax Program
Utica College President Laura Casamento announced today that the college will launch a new safety initiative, Safe Trax, an effort to enhance prevention education and services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (SADVS). The development and implementation of this program was made possible through a $298,330 grant from the Department of Justice's Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program.
The money awarded to Utica College through this grant will help create a strong coordinated community response team including internal partners from units across the College, the YWCA of Mohawk Valley (YWCAMV) as the required external victim services provider, Mohawk Valley Health System as an additional external victim services provider and the Utica Police Department as the required external law enforcement partner. The team will work to enhance victim safety, provide support and services to victims, support efforts to hold offenders accountable, and improve overall campus response to SADVS.
In partnership with YWCAMV, UC will establish mandatory prevention and education programs about SADVS for all incoming first-year and transfer students, expand ongoing prevention and bystander intervention programs to ensure that all undergraduate students receive education and training, and hire a full-time program coordinator who will oversee and manage the program.
UC will also work with YWCAMV to create and administer annual prevention programming for campus safety personnel, local law enforcement, campus conduct personnel, administrators, staff, and faculty on how to respond effectively to SADVS. It will also help increase efforts to specifically combat stalking, participate in ongoing training and technical assistance programs offered by DOJ, increase the involvement of student athletes and students involved with Greek life in SADVS prevention and education programs and develop population-specific strategies to address SADVS for men and students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ).
“We need to do everything we can to eliminate domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault across our college campuses. That starts with education and continues with making sure survivors have access to the resources they need. I am proud to have fought for these important dollars and I will never stop working to end campus violence, said Congressman Anthony Brindisi. “I know Utica College will put this grant money to good use.”
“Eliminating domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking starts with educating students – and this well-deserved investment will enable Utica College and its partners to do just that,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “I have long fought for this kind of funding and will continue to do so in the future. We must do all we can to prevent domestic and dating violence from happening in the first place, and we must also take care of those who survive it.”
“Sexual assault, domestic violence, and dating violence are all far too pervasive on college campuses, and it is a tragedy that some students feel unsafe in a place where they should be learning and preparing for their futures,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This critical funding will help Utica College tackle these issues, while also providing survivors with the support they need. I will continue fighting in the Senate for the resources our universities need to protect survivors.”
Earlier this year, UC received a $312,711 grant from the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant program (HECap) to fund safety and security improvements across campus and a $30,000 grant from the NCAA Choices grant program, which partners athletics with other campus departments in the development and implementation of effective alcohol education projects. UC’s program, which will feature a partnership between Student Affairs and Athletics, will introduce a bystander intervention program, Red Watch Band, designed to train students on when and how to intervene when faced with toxic drinking, dispel myths related to drinking, and ultimately change the culture of the institution as it related to students’ attitudes towards drinking and behaviors regarding drinking.
The HECap grant will help fund security improvements to public areas of the campus, including the installation of parking lot security cameras, additional external emergency phone/“blue light” stations, new exterior LED lighting, additional sidewalks, and the installation of additional internal emergency phones in public areas. The grant will also aid in the acquisition and installation of new doors and/or replacing or upgrading the hardware (locks) in existing doors and access control (card swipe readers) on academic buildings. In addition, this award will help UC acquire an ATV/UTV vehicle for our campus emergency medical services and aid in installation of a call recording system, a mass notification siren/PA system and a new firewall system needed to install both systems.