Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 2, 2022–Aquinas College is deeply committed to protecting the safety of its campus community. To strengthen its commitment, the college has extended its partnership with the YWCA West Central Michigan and the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) to create a program that's designed to reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking on campus.

To help support that effort, the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) has awarded the college a $292,096 grant for a three-year program to communicate about, prevent, and respond to sexual assaults, dating/domestic violence, and stalking.

Aquinas President Alicia Córdoba, D.M.A. explained the importance of this grant by saying, "Providing a safe environment for our students and staff is critical to Aquinas. Our campus must be an inclusive, safe, and secure place for learning. I'm pleased that this grant will help us increase awareness and prevent crimes of this nature."

The new program includes a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) team that consists of Aquinas College, YWCA, and GRPD. The YWCA plays a crucial role by providing comprehensive victim services to Aquinas students including Crisis Help, Support Groups, Counseling/Therapy, and Rape Exam/Medical Help. The GRPD continues to provide support and response in criminal matters and emergencies.

For many years Aquinas has partnered with YWCA, GRPD, and other agencies to protect its students. However, this grant allows for increased staff capacity to coordinate a robust response.

The CCR team will offer on-campus programs, initiatives, and campaigns intended to end dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. With the grant in place, Aquinas plans to deploy a comprehensive and varied training program for all students, employees, staff, and law enforcement.

The program will be overseen by Alicia Lloyd, Dean of Students, and managed on a day-to-day basis by a Project Director.

"The strength of any community is found in the people and institutions like Aquinas College that inspire intellectual curiosity, lifelong learning, leadership, service, and respect for the dignity of all people," said Charisse Mitchell, CEO of YWCA West Central Michigan. "YWCA West Central Michigan is pleased to share decades of experience and service to thousands of survivors, and work with Aquinas College to improve the health and well-being of communities on and off-campus through increased awareness and prevention."

"I look forward to collaborating with Aquinas College and providing the necessary resources to ensure the safety of its students on and around campus," said Captain Joseph Trigg, South Service Area Commander of the Grand Rapids Police Department.