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Doane receives $250K grant to support, expand CAPE Project

Doane receives $250K grant to support, expand CAPE Project

Department of Justice OVW logo

Doane University has received a renewal grant of $249,996 from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to continue to deliver effective, comprehensive, and coordinated strategies to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence, to reduce campus incidents of sexual and domestic violence, and improve the institution’s response to these crimes.


The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women recently announced 50 grants totaling more than $15 million to help students who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The awards will make possible a range of services, including specialized training for campus law enforcement, victim service agencies, university housing personnel, and other first responders.


Doane University is fully committed to reducing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on all of its campuses, building upon existing Coordinated Community Response (CCR) efforts. Doane University first received a grant from the DoJ OVW Campus Grant Program in 2016 for $300,000, which provided the funds necessary to launch the CAPE (Campus Advocacy, Prevention, and Education) Project at the university.


The CAPE Project at Doane aims to shift campus cultures to those free from interpersonal violence through collaboration with students, faculty, and staff. The CAPE Project embraces survivor-centered, trauma-informed practices, enhances systems of community response for incidents of interpersonal violence, and adopts inclusive interpersonal violence prevention and education programs.


The renewal grant Doane has received from the Department of Justice will expand current project activities by adding a representative to the CCR Team to assist with training campus partners about Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) and providing other training related to trauma-informed care.


The grant will also provide the infrastructure for the university to expand its Campus Climate Survey to Doane’s nonresidential students on its Lincoln, Omaha, and Grand Island campuses. Distributing this survey to nonresidential students will allow the university to understand how they are impacted by interpersonal violence and learn how to better assist them. The data received will help the CAPE Project cater programming, resources, and prevention education and awareness to the needs of these students.


Additionally, the renewal grant allows for more considerable attention to students from typically underserved and marginalized communities.


“These communities tend to be at a higher risk of interpersonal violence or are proven to experience interpersonal violence at higher rates due to their marginalization from other parts of society or over-sexualization within our society,” said Suzannah Rogan, Director of the CAPE Project at Doane. “We intend to create response and prevention programs that focus on our LGBTQIA+, Latinx, Black, and International students. Additionally, we will increase outreach efforts with our nonresidential students as our previous efforts have primarily focused on our residential campus.”


Lastly, another significant impact the grant has on the CAPE Project is the ability to expand Doane’s peer educator model and increase the stipend per term those students receive.


Doane’s peer educator program started in the spring of 2017 with six students. Currently, 13 students are involved, including four male student-athletes that run the Engaging Men Campus Athletics Project. This collaboration between the CAPE Project and the Athletic Department requires all male student-athletes to participate in the program, which engages them to discuss their role in creating a healthy, sustainable, and respectful campus culture free from interpersonal violence.


A female student-athlete program will also be implemented, running concurrently with the male student-athlete program. This program will focus on empowering Doane’s female student-athletes to detangle toxic relationship and sexuality myths and understand how to create healthy, supportive, and respectful relationships.


The students in the peer educator program return a week early in the summer and complete training that includes understanding a Public Health approach to violence prevention, facilitating and leading sessions, creating programming, and various other topics necessary to set them up to be successful in their role.


“The role of our peer educators during the school year is to run scheduled events, act as program ambassadors, help create new programming, and keep me in touch with current student trends,” Rogan said. “They exhibit positive traits and behaviors such as inclusive leadership, empowering their peers to act, and constantly providing education around these topics.”


Since the CAPE Project began at Doane three years ago, the project has organized more than 100 prevention and awareness activities. These activities and other program initiatives such as trainings have reached more than 5,500 students and more than 800 faculty and staff members. 


“We can achieve equitable outcomes and a more just environment when as a community we demonstrate competence around healthy relationships and sexual behavior,” said Luis Sotelo, Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “All of us at Doane University should be actively working towards this goal to make meaningful gains.”


For more information on the CAPE Project, visit here.