Originally published Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 10:03a.m.

TSAILE, Ariz. — Diné College receives $299K grant to fight domestic violence, assault, stalking to reduce domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on campus.

The grant in the amount of $299.912, was awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW), which operates under the Department of Justice. The OVW provides federal guidance in developing the national capacity to lower violence against women, especially where resources can be scarce, like in rural areas.

“This program is designed to enhance victim services, implement prevention and education programs and develop and strengthen campus security and investigation strategies in order to prevent, prosecute and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on college campuses,” Laura Rogers, acting director of OVW, said in a prepared statement.

Rogers said the program provides a unique opportunity for institutions of higher learning to establish multidisciplinary approaches to combat sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking.

“The campus program supports activities that develop campus-based coordinated responses that include victim services, law enforcement and enhancing victim safety and assistance and holding offenders accountable,” Rogers said. “To be effective, these responses must be linked to local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices, courts and nonprofit, nongovernmental victim advocacy and victim services organizations.”

The grant stipulates that Diné College implement a victim-centered approach that blends western and traditional healing strategies, creates coordinated community responses that guide and support the project, ensures Diné College officers participate in trauma trainings at the Shiprock and Tsaile campuses, develops a mandatory sexual assault, domestic violence and dating violence education programs for incoming students and puts into place an annual training for members of disciplinary boards and investigators to respond to sexual assault, domestic and dating violence situations. The timeline to carry out the grant stipulations is 36 months.

Diné College was founded in 1968 as the first tribally-controlled higher education institution. The college is a four-year institution with campuses in Arizona and New Mexico and its student population runs near 1,600. The college will implement the project in partnership with the Tohdenasshai Committee Against Family Abuse, Eve’s Place and the Navajo Nation Criminal Investigations Department.

“Under the efforts of the Campus Security and Emergency Team (CSER), our goal is to expand on our training program on self-defense and prevention efforts among our students and the community, and train our security personnel to obtain the skills needed when answering calls on domestic violence,” saud Velveena Davis, executive director of institutional planning and reporting at Diné College.

Davis is a coordinator of CSER and the principal investigator for the OVW grant.

“The grant will also allow our institution to obtain the funding necessary to broaden our education programs, as well as expand our relationship with third party organizations to address sexual assault and domestic violence rates among the Navajo people,” Davis said.

Vice President of External Affairs at Diné College, Marie Etsitty-Nez, who oversees the Diné College Security Department, said the OVW grant targets professional development opportunities for security personnel to increase job performances.

Information provided by Diné College

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