Nationwide grant is awarded to UA's OASIS
The UA OASIS Center received one of 21 grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice to secondary education institutions to address sexual harassment issues on campus.
"This is the first year the Violence Against Women Fund has been allocated to higher education and only five of them were west of the Mississippi," said Roberta Moore, OASIS Center for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence program coordinator.
"We are one of the few on the west coast so it's like recognition of the work the center has done," she said. "Universities nationwide are looking at the center as a model to address their own problems."
A press release issued by Moore and Irene Anderson, director of the OASIS Center, said the two-year $421,006 grant, which was announced Oct. 15 and granted last week, is meant to address and battle "sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, workplace violence and stalking on campus."
To accomplish such a wide range of goals, Anderson said the center would unite with on- and off-campus groups and distribute the responsibilities.
"We will be collaborating with the (freshman) orientation program on campus to provide expanded orientation services that will address issues related to violence against women and civility on campus," she said, adding that the center plans to expand the program to include graduate students.
The press release states the center will also work with sub-contractors throughout Tucson. Of those who will be collaborating with the center are Brewster Center, 2711 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson Rape Crisis Center, 848 S. Seventh Ave., and the Family Counseling Agency, 209 S. Tucson Blvd.
"The different tasks are required by the grant and there are several partners in the grants, so they are distributed among the partners," said Susan Abagnale, executive director of the Family Counseling Agency.
"We are sharing those responsibilities in the areas of counseling and prevention education. We are not sure who is going to be targeting what right now, but it is a shared role," she said.
While the OASIS center provides confidential services, the sub-contractors will provide an opportunity for University of Arizona students to address their issues off-campus, Moore said.
"It's nice to be able to have this grant designed in such a way that we can work with the community agencies because sometimes people want to go out of the UA community because of the personal nature of these situations," Moore said.
The press release also outlined many of the responsibilities of the center and its sub-contractors, and stated the UA has, "committed to mandatory prevention and education orientation programs about violence against women."
"It is important when each student enters our community to learn what the expectations are for behavior and how that is linked in with civility, code of conduct and law enforcement issues," Anderson said.
Although the center has continued to address these issues, it has not had a chance to make such a significant and widespread contribution to the university because of an inadequate number of staff members.
"The center had two employees up until a point and they did all the direct counseling, free of charge, and they did all of the outreach to the entire campus," Moore said. "This grant is enabling us to hire more people so we will be able to reach more of the campus and expand in a lot of areas."