USF Awarded U.S. Department of Justice Grant

September 21, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

The University of St. Francis (USF), in collaboration with Guardian Angel Community Services (GACS) and the Joliet Police Department (JPD), is pleased to announce it has received a grant for $289,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. The funds awarded will support programming that allows the university to take a more proactive approach to issues regarding domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on college campuses.

“The University of St. Francis has a long, productive history of collaboration with both Guardian Angel Community Services and the Joliet Police Department,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson. “The programming supported by this grant will enable us to support and enhance our students’ experiences on what is already one of the safest campuses in Illinois.”

This is the second consecutive year USF has been ranked by on its “Safest College Campuses in Illinois” listing.

Representatives from each organization worked together to create a comprehensive plan for the funding during the application process. The plan includes:

  • creating a Community Collaborative Response Team to undertake education and prevention programs;
  • improving procedural, judicial and disciplinary processes;
  • providing additional training for campus security, faculty, staff and administrators;
  • implementing ongoing prevention and education programs for all students, with an enhanced emphasis on culturally specific programming;
  • increasing campus lighting.

The efforts outlined were guided by the university’s mission and the expertise of GACS and the police department. “These efforts align with our mission and continued commitment to our Franciscan values of respect, integrity, service and compassion. This grant opportunity is just one of the ways we can make this commitment come to life,” said Allison Heard, USF Director of Institutional Diversity and Title IX Coordinator.

“Guardian Angel Community Services congratulates longtime partner, the University of St. Francis, on this critical grant award,” GACS CEO Ines Kutlesa commented. “It further demonstrates the university’s commitment to enhancing response systems, education and prevention programs related to sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on campus.”

USF and GACS are tightly linked by their shared founding congregation’s mission. Likewise, USF has a strong partnership with JPD and presence in the Joliet community. Joliet police sergeant Rob Hall, an alumnus of USF, will serve as the training coordinator and facilitate education among the three organizations.

Damon Sloan, USF Vice President for Student and Alumni Affairs, echoed the team’s excitement for this opportunity. “Any time we are able to devote resources to further educate our students on a topic that is prevalent in the national discourse, we all benefit,” he commented.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,900 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.