State grant takes aim at campus sexual assault - WNEM TV 5

State grant takes aim at campus sexual assault

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More than 150 sexual assaults were reported on Michigan campuses in the last year. But a $500,000 grant aims to change that.

Lauren Debski, a rape survivor spoke at a Lansing summit in June to combat sexual assaults on college campuses.

"I would question how on Earth could he take something so precious, and sacred, and use to make life so ugly for me," Debski said.

Following her emotional plea, it looks like change is on the way.

"Sexual assault prevention is an important issue on every college campus, including SVSU," said J.J. Boehm.

Boehm, spokesperson for Saginaw Valley State University, said the school was pleased to hear the state had opened up applications this week for $500,000 in prevention grants.

The money would be awarded to schools looking to crack down on these crimes.

According to the state eligibility requirements, the funds could be used for:

  • Education
  • Awareness
  • Prevention
  • Reporting
  • Bystander Intervention

"We're going to be taking a careful look at the guidelines for these grants that are available, and see if there are any enhancements we can make to what we already deliver," Boehm said.

Even before these grants potentially take effect, the school said they already have tools in place to prevent sexual assaults.

"We do have a number of programs on our campus, some of them do have a wide national application for them. We do have a wide variety of programs for students to make healthy choices, including where sex is concerned," Boehm said.

As it turns out, SVSU may have had a direct impact on shaping this new tool.

"Our president met with the governor and first lady on this matter earlier this year, as soon as it was first discussed," Boehm said.

The deadline for applying for the funding is in October.

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