The U.S. Justice Department awarded AACC $300,000 this semester to hire a new manager and train staff to better address sexual violence on campus.
The college was one of 57 institutions nationwide, including three in Maryland, to receive the grant.
The Office on Violence Against Women grant is designed to reduce sexual violence—including domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault—on college campuses.
With the money, which the Justice Department released to the college on Oct. 1, AACC will design a program of prevention education forincoming students. It will also develop a disciplinary hearing board to investigate cases of sexual violence more in-depth.
“Right now, if a case comes in, we have assigned investigators who will investigate the case and make recommendations to the Title IX coordinators, so if they wanted to appeal, they would be doing so to a single entity,” Dr. Tiffany Boykin, assistant dean of student services, said.
“We are looking to move towards still having these investigators, but having the case also go before a hearing board.”
The college is also adding training for members of the disciplinary board and for public safety and campus police officers on how to most effectively respond to incidents of sexual violence.
AACC will hire a project manager this semester who will manage the development of the hearing board and the updated training process.
Using the grant, the college will coordinate with the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Forensic Nursing Examiners program at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center so AACC can refer students who report sexual violence to appropriate off-campus services.
“I am absolutely ecstatic about this opportunity,” Boykin said.
Although a sexual assault climate survey the college sent out to students last spring showed that few
AACC students have reported sexual violence, “we know from surrounding community and county statistics that we get from Anne Arundel County Police that cases of sexual violence are severely underreported,” Boykin said.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity to give students who are victims or survivors of sexual violence the necessary resources so that they can be successful.”
“[The grant] is good, especially with all the stuff happening in other colleges—they try to cover it up,” first-year business student Kyle Gioffre said.
“Girls don’t want to go to the police, because it is embarrassing and it will be brushed off,” first-year business student Bre Devlin agreed.