Delaware State University’s Safe Space Project awarded $300,000 grant

Courtesy of Delaware State University

Delaware State University’s Safe Space Coalition received financial support for its work to develop a dedicated sexual assault response and prevention program on campus from a two year grant award for $300,000 from the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault.

The Building the Capacity of Black Programs Funding Initiative Addressing Sexual Assault (BCPSA) grant will be used to support a Safe Space Project, which will be based at University’s Hope House located on 34 N. State Street, Dover, DE at DSU Downtown. The newly established Hope House, which is currently being used for the University’s Food Bank, drug/alcohol support groups, as well as research and experiential learning activities, will now also be engaged in the University’s sexual assault prevention initiative.

“The funding will be primarily used for DSU to support those students victimized by violence and sexual assault; to promote prevention, education, awareness, provide outreach, student experiential learning/research and to provide services to the community,” said Dr. Gwen Scott-Jones, Chair of the Safe Space Coalition and Dean of the University’s Wesley College of Health and Behavioral Sciences (WCHBS).

Dr. Eleanor Kiesel, Associate Dean of the WCHBS, is the principal investigator who successfully wrote the grant proposal, with the assistance of Kim Graham, the Director of the WCHBS’ Trauma Academy.

Dr. Scott Jones said the Safe Space Project grant-funding will provide both a physical space and more importantly, a supportive and safe space for survivors, allies, and wellness professionals to engage in the work of healing and restoration.

The Safe Space Project at the Hope House will include a part-time licensed mental health professional and coordinator who will provide culturally specific prevention and advocacy for victims and survivors of sexual assault.

DSU’s Safe Space Coalition – comprised of over 100 students, parents, community members and DSU employees – serves as an advisory board  to DSU’s President and administration in creating a safer campus for our students, employees and community members. This includes a Core Coalition Group and nine Steering Committees. The Steering Committees are Campus Health, Counseling & Prevention, Communications & Customer Service, Employee Awareness & Safety, Facility & Management, Judicial Affairs & Title IX, Project Resources & Funding, Public Safety and Student Awareness, Engagement, and Safety.

“As a DSU alumna, parent, and employee, I would like to commend University President Tony Allen for being responsive to the call for action by establishing a coalition comprised of individuals that will provide him with transparent information about campus safety and recommendations for creating safe spaces on all of our campuses,” Dr. Scott-Jones said.