SPC SAFE SPaCe
A medium-sized community college with 13,000 students in San Antonio has been awarded a $299,911 grant to strengthen community college partnerships in America’s war on violence perpetrated against women. St. Philip's College has been awarded a $299,911 grant from the U.S. Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice to support the college’s new-for-2017 Sexual Assault Free Environment at St. Philip’s College (SPC SAFE SPaCe) program.
Eitandria Gatlin, a personal counselor within the college’s counseling resource center, is a co-principal investigator on the Office on Violence Against Women Grant to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence & Stalking On Campus Program grant that is the first of its type at the college with colleague and grant co-principal investigator John Martin, the college’s director of student conduct and Title IX programs.
“The grant addresses the unique issues and challenges that colleges and universities face in preventing and responding to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. St. Philip’s College, as the nation’s only institution of higher education designated as both a Historically Black Colleges and Universities member institution and a Hispanic Serving Institution, is in a unique position to address the two grant priority areas---to strengthen coordinated community response capability in community colleges, and to meaningfully increase access to U.S. Justice Department programming for specific underserved populations,” said Gatlin.
On its two campuses and numerous operating locations that include three large military bases and internship or practicum sites, Gatlin and Martin said the project goals will be achieved where practical through several activities and strategies. Two grant-funded annual campus-wide events will promote sexual assault prevention awareness and sensitivity. The grant will fund bystander intervention strategies for the college community through programming and class presentations. Peer mentors hired through grant funding will engage underserved populations in sexual assault prevention. The grant funding is expected to strengthen the college’s response to sexual assault by training campus law enforcement and student conduct personnel to recognize common reactions to sexual assault in victims and treating them with respect, said Gatlin and Martin.
Off campus, Martin and Gatlin identified the three external agencies that will partner with St. Philip’s College in providing comprehensive support services and educating campus law enforcement and student conduct personnel as The Rape Crisis Center, Bexar County Family Justice Center, and Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
While the environment at all of the college's campuses and satellite locations will benefit from and be impacted by the program, Gatlin and Martin forecast the college's flagship campus at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive will serve as the primary activity site. Being a revered 119-year-old institution headquartered within a concerned community that was the source in 2016 of 10-20% of sexual assault survivors admitted to The Rape Crisis Center provides the college an opportunity give back by assisting residents, as the majority of the non-residential college's 13,000 students do not reside in the communities surrounding the hub of their college.
“The grant strengthens the capabilities of violence prevention organizations to better work better together as a team for transformation than they could singly. As an institution with support from this grant, we have a $299,910 supplement to our operational budget to continually improve our existing capacity for coordinated responses to situations or incidents, together with our community and our law enforcement partners,” said Gatlin. “We already have staff focused on sexual assault prevention. The grant directly speaks to our effort to scale up and engage our college with our community in preventing sexual assault and related behavior. Scaled up enhancements that will impact students on and off campus include a referral process to dedicated 24-hour services and advocacy already provided by our community-based partners,” Gatlin said.
“The first year under the grant is a year of planning and capacity building toward post-grant sustainability for our college and our partners. Once our grant funding is activated, our grant provides us additional resources for our first step of hiring a full time professional who will drive the activities of the grant,” Gatlin said. “That project coordinator will manage our grant activities. After an initial planning year, the St. Philip’s College community should expect to experience sexual assault prevention programming in 2018-2019 via a program we are calling Responsible Individuals Supporting Everyone (RISE) as an initiative of SPC SAFE SPaCe,” said Gatlin. “We will also hire peer mentors who, will assist in executing college RISE events,” Gatlin shared.
The project will also involve and strengthen a number of internal college departments, and these include: Student Conduct/Title IX; Counseling Services; Alamo Colleges Police Department; Health Services; Advising; Student Life; International Student Services; Faculty Senate; and Staff Council, Gatlin said.
For details on the college's grant and project, contact Martin at 210-486-2746, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Gatlin at email@example.com, 210-486-2378.