University of California

Southwestern College Receives Grant To Fight Sexual Violence On Campus

The Department of Justice awarded over $18 million to schools all over the United States

Southwestern Community College District in Chula Vista was chosen as one of the schools to receive a grant from the Department of Justice to fight sexual violence. 

The DOJ gave out $18 million to 57 schools to help campuses respond to crimes of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking and sexual assaults. 

Southwestern College received $750,000 to divide among a handful of schools in San Diego County. 

“It was given to five colleges in total,” said David Caspi, director of employee relations. “Southwestern, San Diego State University, Point Loma Nazarene, National University and Palomar Community College. The money is being divided. We are the lead so we will distribute it.” 

Southwestern said they will divide the money based on the needs of the individual campus. 

The grant money is to be used towards helping higher education institutions implement comprehensive and coordinated responses to violent crimes on campus. This is through partnerships with the victim, services the victim might need and local law enforcement agencies. 

The grant is to be used towards campus athletic programs, Greek life organizations and off-campus victim services as well, the DOJ added. 

The money will provide services from specialized training for campus law enforcement officers to healthcare providers and university staff. 

Caspi said some of the grant funds will be shared with the San Diego City Attorney's office to help victims get justice.

“College campuses should be safe places where students can learn without fear of violence,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “Our office will use this grant to hire a prosecutor dedicated to protecting students on five local campuses from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This prosecutor will also conduct trainings to help students identify criminal conduct and better protect themselves.”

At Southwestern College, that means teaching campus officers what to do when a victim is in need. They are also starting to train officers in prevention. 

"We want to enhance our response," said Caspi. "The idea is to reduce sexual assaults and domestic violence as well as enhancing prosecution of these crimes." 

The school will also enhance victim services through off-campus resources. 

Victims of sexual violence can report the incidents in person to campus police or online, Caspi added. 

Southwestern College applied through the DOJ for the grant. Staff found out Wednesday they were one of the recipients. 

Other schools in California that received the grant are the University of California, Santa Barbara, California State University, Bakersfield and Humboldt State University. 

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