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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

U.S. Department of Justice Grant Aims to Bolster Gender-Based Violence Prevention

Cal Poly has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to bolster the university’s gender-based violence support services.

Cal Poly is one of 53 universities nationwide to receive the Campus Program grant through the federal justice department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), which will provide funding over a three-year span. Christine Hackman, assistant professor in the Kinesiology and Public Health Department, and Christina Kaviani, director of the Safer and Men and Masculinity programs, led Cal Poly’s efforts to secure the multi-year grant.

The funds will be used to enhance gender-based violence prevention and response efforts on campus, among other priorities, Kaviani said. The goal of the Campus Program grant is to create systemic, sustainable culture change at the university level. 

“This grant is an incredible opportunity for Cal Poly to be a U.S. leader in reducing sexual assault and intimate partner violence on college campuses,” Kaviani said. “We plan to do this by offering more prevention education with a coordinated team of talented individuals in the San Luis Obispo community. We are truly coming together to disseminate the prevention work in our various communities in an effective, data-driven manner.”

Programming will be implemented with oversight from a “Core 7” group of campus partners, including members from Safer, the University Police Department, the Office of Equal Opportunity (Title IX), Dean of Students, and off-campus partners from RISE and the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

“We feel honored to receive this grant to help us create systematic strategic change on our campus and in our community,” Dean of Students Kathleen McMahon said. “We are excited to expand our prevention efforts, as well as bolster our victim response services, to help shift the climate on gender-based violence.”

“Gender-based violence impacts the overall health and success of our students who experience it,” added Brenda Trobaugh, deputy chief of University Police. “This grant will help us create positive change that will empower and support the survivors and allow us to take steps to change the behaviors that contribute to these acts.”

In addition, the program’s gender-based violence prevention committee, which consists of more than 40 different campus and surrounding community partners, will assist with the oversight, implementation and success of the grant.

Created in 1995, the OVW is an office within the U.S. Department of Justice that provides assistance to organizations and communities developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The OVW currently administers 25 grant programs to help address the unique challenges many colleges and universities face in preventing and responding to incidents on campus.