Kent State receives grant for sexual assault prevention

Ian Flickinger

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine presented Kent State with more than $90,000 to improve campus sexual assault victim services.

The grant comes from a $3 million federal Victims of Crime Act fund allocated by the attorney general to be distributed to Ohio colleges and universities for sexual assault prevention, education and other awareness initiatives.

“(The grant is) for a direct service coordinator,” Jennifer O’Connell, program coordinator for the Sexual and Relationship Support Services (SRVSS) said. “Someone who would be coordinating support services for people impacted by power-based personal violence— sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking.”

O’Connell said the coordinator will be the intermediary between victims and the support services, including connecting them with counseling, helping file formal complaints with the university, assisting with academic and housing services, advocating for students in the university system and researching a peer-advocate model for Kent State.

“It’s going to be somebody that can help someone figure out what (services) they need,” she said. “Right now, I basically do a lot of that work. But now we’ll have somebody (whose) only role is coordinating the services.”

According to the attorney general’s website, 11 Ohio institutions and four rape crisis centers completed an application for the grant.

O’Connell said the grant goes specifically toward hiring the direct service coordinator. The search process for the position should begin in the upcoming weeks. A portion of the grant also goes towards assisting Town Hall II with electronic-based support, O’Connell said.