Frostburg State University Awarded $9,000 Grant for Sexual Assault Prevention

Sep 14, 2017 2:30 PM

Frostburg State University students will be challenged to use critical thinking to break stereotypes and recognize potential risky behavior in an effort to prevent sexual assault through programs funded by a Maryland Department of Health grant.

The FSU Office of Gender Equality was awarded a $9,000 grant from the state’s health department’s Center for Injury and Sexual Assault Prevention to continue the University’s robust programming aimed at preventing sexual assault.

The grant funds four distinct programs through FSU’s Office of Gender Equity – Brother 2 Brother; Bringing in the Bystander; Relating, Dating and Communicating; and Social Justice Theatre.

Interim Title IX Coordinator Dr. April Paul Baer shared that this grant “helps to further University efforts to prevent sexual violence and empower students to work actively to promote a culture of respect at FSU.”

“This grant has helped FSU to provide valuable programs to hundreds of FSU students over the past four years,” Baer said. “We are pleased continue this partnership with the state to encourage positive and healthy behaviors for our students.”

The Brother 2 Brother program presents the questions of what does it mean to be a man and what is manhood to students in a special workshop. They will explore the cultural parameters and societal influences of manhood in this program, and examine their understanding of what healthy masculinity looks like and if they would more compelled to be active bystanders following the workshop. The Harbor Institute will come to campus to present the two-hour program on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The program will be hosted in partnership with FSU’s Center for Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Black Student Alliance.

The Bringing in the Bystander program will be introduced to the campus community for the first time this semester. Bystander intervention training provides effective, proven strategies to recognize behavior that could lead to sexual assault, and how to safely step in and prevent it. The workshop program is authored by the University of New Hampshire and its Prevention Innovations Research Center, which focuses on creating a community of responsibility through bystander intervention.

The funding provides a student intern with a hands-on educational opportunity to help develop and deliver the Bringing the Bystander program to at least three student audiences during the fall semester. Students will be presented with information about sexual violence on and off campus and be presented with skills to be an active bystander, develop empathy for sexual violence victims, evaluate their skills as a bystander and rate their likelihood of intervening.

The grant will also fund the continuation of annual Relating, Dating and Communicating workshops, which show first-year students what healthy relationships look like and what defines consent. These workshops are contained within the Introduction to Higher Education orientation classes and are designed to take place during what’s known as the Red Zone, the term used for the first six weeks of the fall semester. A 2007 National Institute of Justice Campus Sexual Assault study found that college sexual assaults spike during that time frame.

The grand funds training for up to 11 student and campus leaders and for Poll Everywhere software for student SMS/text participation in the program. These programs will be presented Sept. 18 through 27 to students enrolled in ORIE 101 Introduction to Higher Education.

Social Justice Theatre will also return for the fall semester after a successful launch during the spring.

FSU theatre lecturer Michele Labar leads these free workshops with student groups using improvisational games to explore complicated topics related to gender-based violence, harassment and equality. Students gain empathy for the disadvantaged and become more aware of what they would do when facing challenging situations. The workshops are based on Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed,” which provides a framework on how to use improvisational games for those scenarios. A story and video about the first-ever Social Justice Theatre at FSU can be viewed at bit.ly/FSUSocialJustice.

For more information on FSU’s Office of Gender Equity, visit www.frostburg.edu/titleix.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.