Following an investigation into the handling of sexual assault reports at the University of Montana in Missoula launched last spring, the university is receiving a $300,000 grant to hire a violence intervention director and expand campus wide programs addressing violence. The director position will be funded for one year, and will work out of the Student Assault Resource Center, which currently relies primarily on volunteer advocates. The grant will also support the university’s Men Can Stop Rape program.

The DOJ investigation of the University of Montana in Missoula was prompted by an alarming number of sexual assaults—there were 80 reported cases of rape at the university in the three years leading up to the investigation. There were 11 sexual assault reports involving students at the University of Montana in the eighteen months prior to the investigation.

“This grant is an important step toward demonstrating a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence against our sisters, daughters and friends,” Senator Max Baucus said to the Missoulian, a local newspaper. “The more we can work together to target the scourge of domestic violence on campus and off campus, the better we’ll be as a society.”

According to Baucus, this grant was available through the old version of the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed in 1994 and has been reauthorized and updated with bipartisan support ever since, until this year. The House is currently blocking the passage of the Senate-approved, bipartisan VAWA reauthorization.

Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 5/8/12; Missoulian 9/24/12; Jezebel 9/25/12