The 2023 spring semester marks the end of certain grants that the Anti-Violence Alliance relies on for funding.
The AVA’s administration is in the midst of deciding how they will finance their staff and operations at Ferris. With their $50,000 grant ending, the AVA will not be able to fund their peer educators or their violence prevention coordinator, neutering their presence on campus. In the coming weeks, the AVA is looking to Ferris and other grants for funding.
The AVA is a branch of Title IX at Ferris that can be found on the second floor of the Birkham Health Center. They are responsible for Ferris’ sexual assault preventative measures.
“Our peer educators do a lot of presentations,” AVA staff leader Sydney Mignori said. “We do a lot of bystander intervention curriculum for sports teams and fraternities… We are trying to change the campus climate around interpersonal violence and what you should do in potentially dangerous situations.”
It is reported that the Ferris administration is working to ensure that the AVA stays afloat financially. They recognize the importance of the role the group serves on campus.
“Ferris was never in a position where they were not willing to help,” AVA’s Interim Project Director Andrew Slater said. “Before they say, ‘Let’s write a check,’ they want to see if we can offset the costs, and that’s where the grants come in.”
Without the AVA, the Title IX coordinators office would be Ferris’ sole organization for sexual violence issues. Currently, Title IX focuses on sexual violence intervention rather than violence prevention.
While many of the specifics of how the AVA will be financed are still being hashed out and the replacing grants will not be known until October, Slater still feels confident about the AVA’s place within Ferris.
“There is a lot of federal regulation that requires Ferris to do a lot of the things the AVA is doing,” Slater said. “I have no concerns that [the] AVA is not going to be on campus in the fall.”
The value that the AVA brings to campus is also felt by the student body.
“I think it is so important, and it has really impacted women’s sports… The fact that we may lose another resource is sad,” sports communication sophomore Jessica Angelo said. “I feel like we need the AVA, especially in college with everything that goes on for the girls in sports.”
Other students feel it is important that there be outreach and education that the AVA provides, specifically for athletic organizations and fraternities, where there is a reputation for sexual violence.
The ripple effect of the AVA is felt as students look for careers as well.
“If I hadn’t met peer educators in one of my classes and worked with them to get a position here, I don’t know what my focus would be in my field,” Ferris alumna and AVA violence prevention coordinator Melody Antel said. “The AVA has absolutely driven my passion for preventative work.”
While the AVA is in a precarious spot financially, the organization is hopeful that they will still be able to provide services to Ferris with the help of university financing and possible grants.