Today Betsy Devos made it clear that she is listening to the accused in cases of rape on campus. What will this mean for the Dept. of Justice/OVW grant for “Reducing Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus”)? My guess is that we are going to see a new goal in the RFP, one that targets assistance for those who are accused. Just a hunch. Everything else, I think, will remain the same: the RFP will continue to ask for programming, staffing, and teaching opportunities–drawing on as many aspects of campus life as possible–that focus on reducing sexual assault on campus. One optional goal has been to incorporate the local victim services provider (I always recommend to include that option as a goal; why not? The local service provider gets 20% of the funds awarded, and isn’t that worth doing?). All of that will remain the same.
Through my work with McAllister & Quinn, I’ve written three of these grants for clients, winning two, and waiting to hear back on one. I love this grant for many reasons: 1. it creates a culture that will help people; 2. it gets many offices and departments aware of these issues on campus and gets those faculty and staff members talking to each other; and 3. it provides opportunities for creative thinking in terms of the particular campus cultures and the ways in which we reach out to students. No matter where we stand politically on Devos’ approach, we’ll most likely see a change in the DOJ’s grants for reducing sexual violence on campus this year.