New $300,000 Federal Grant Awarded to Westminster

Students participate in The Clothesline Project, a national project where participants hang shirts on a line to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women.

Westminster College has received a new $300,000 federal grant to enhance its services to prevent sexual and domestic violence, according to Associate Dean of Student Life Dr. Kasi Lacey, lead coordinator for the grant. 

“We take a multi-faceted approach to addressing sexual and domestic violence,” says Dr. Lacey. “We have to look at it as education, prevention and response and ensure we are delivering on those goals appropriately. This grant will greatly enhance these services.” 

Westminster is one of only two colleges and universities in the state of Missouri to gain approval for this grant. 

Entitled “Every Blue Jay,” the three-year grant, which was approved by the Office of Violence Against Women with the Department of Justice, will build on Westminster services to reduce and prevent sexual and domestic violence and stalking on campus. 

Currently, Westminster offers numerous educational and prevention services, primarily through the Wellness Center, to address these issues. All freshmen students participate in the Green Dot Outreach Program, an international program of bystander intervention. Campus speakers and events are scheduled during October for Domestic Violence Month and in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  All Residential Advisors, Greek leaders, mentors, Student Government Association members and other key campus leaders undergo training. Remley Women’s Center interns educate students in prevention. The Men Against Rape and Sexual Violence (MARS) organization provides education, and the College works in partnership with community action groups. 

The grant money will allow for a new full-time employee on campus focused on these issues, purchase a new online training module to educate students, faculty and staff, strengthen existing campus programs and student support groups, and build much stronger partnerships with community partners such as CARDV (Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence), law enforcement officials, and a sexual assault nurse examiner who will conduct training at Westminster. 

Dr. Lacey and Amanda Gowin, Visiting Instructor of Health and Exercise Science, discovered this grant program at a meeting of Partners in Prevention, an organization of 21 Missouri schools involved in prevention, and Dr. Lacey first applied for a grant in 2012.

She credits the success of this year’s grant application as the result of a team effort of Gowin, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Dr. Dawn Holliday, former Associate Professor of Mathematics and Physics Dr. Erin Martin, College grant writers McAllister and Quinn and herself.

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