News

KATU: PSU gets grant for sexual assault prevention: 'Tools to enhance their safety'
Author: Joe English and KATU News
Posted: February 11, 2016

Read the original article and watch the video on KATU.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Securing grant money can be a challenge for any school, and getting money for sexual assault prevention is almost unheard of. Yet Portland State University recently secured a federal grant of $750,000 to help prevent campus sexual assault.

PSU psychology professor Keith Kaufman applied for the grant that will create a guide to preventing sexual assault. Research for the new approaches to prevention will include talking to different groups on campus.

"Each of those groups, we'll walk the through a four step process helping them have the tools to identify the risks that are in their environment," said Kaufman.

The grant covers a three-year project. Some students wonder if the timeline is too lengthy.

"This is something that should be implemented right quickly," said student Maia Dennis. "But that would stand to how effective it is. Are these simple changes that are going to make a dramatic impact immediately?"

Kaufman said what they learn while they're building the prevention program can be put to use before it is published and applied across the country.

PSU student Alex Moreland previously attended the University of Montana. He thinks the prevention will work no matter where you are.

"You have the same demographic going on at every campus. You have the same interactions between students. The same parties. The same student-teacher interaction," Moreland said.

The funding means more work for Kaufman, but he's passionate about the work that will have a nationwide impact.

"For everybody that has kids in college, or will be sending to college, the idea of having tools to enhance their safety, how much better than that can you get?" Kaufman said.

The initial research will happen at universities and colleges around the country. The first draft of the manual will be reviewed and tested by a half-dozen schools, including Linfield.

The federal money is a huge opportunity for PSU, a school that has already been doing more to prevent sexual assault than most. Portland State already has required assault prevention training for new students, and the school recently hired a new prevention specialist.