PACE program to increase sexual assault awareness

Baker University has received a $300,000 government grant from the United States Department of Justice to implement a Prevention Awareness and Campus Education (PACE) project surrounding sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (SADDVS).

The goals of this program are to reduce the number of incidents that occur on campus and educate students, law enforcement officials and faculty to know what to look for. The grant is good for three years, the first of which is a planning year.

Dean of Students Cassy Bailey explained that around half of the grant will go towards hiring a project coordinator. This coordinator will be in charge of both the promotion and administration of all of the curriculum, workshops and campaigns associated with the job.

“I think that Baldwin City will feel a lot of the impact of this person and the programming that they do. We will have the money to be able to bring in speakers or do giveaways to students. It’s just a wonderful opportunity for us,” Bailey said.

Baker University is currently searching for the person to take on the role of project coordinator and hopes to have the hire complete before Nov. 1. Once hired, the project coordinator will immediately start implementing the program’s steps to completion.

The program does not end after three years. A stipulation in the grant is that Baker University must have a plan in place to continue the program past the expiration of the grant so that the work being done does not abruptly end.

Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Life Randy Flowers was one of the faculty members on the committee that worked on the grant. His involvement with the project will include overseeing the grant and its implementation throughout its lifetime.

This program is not limited to the Baldwin City campus, but to all four Baker University campuses. The program will go beyond the project coordinator, including many other facets of Baker University’s resources.

“The program also works with our community partners. It’s going to be working more with the Care Center to have more programs with them and to increase the flow of education and communication. It will also work with the Baldwin City police department to make sure that they have the necessary education,” Flowers said.

Other campus groups that will gain education include Residence Life, Fraternity and Sorority Life, athletics and Student Activities Council. Each of these groups have experienced some form of sexual assault awareness education but the PACE program plans to build on that education.

Coordinator of Inclusion and Wellness Education Paul Ladipo has been the front-runner in Baker University’s sexual assault awareness programs, but he will be able to focus on other important topics with the addition of the PACE program.

“I’m excited that we’re taking more steps to handle sexual assault awareness here at Baker. I think it’s an uncomfortable topic and students often don’t feel comfortable talking about it,” Ladipo said.

The PACE program is one of the many steps being taken by Baker University to increase student awareness about important issues and give them the necessary resources to feel comfortable in their surroundings.