safety & security

Diné College Receives $299K Grant to Fight Domestic Violence, Assault, Stalking

TSAILE, AZ – Resources that serve domestic violence or sexual assault victims can sometimes be scarce, especially in rural areas. But the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is helping to bridge that gap as it relates to Diné College.

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), which operates under the auspices of DOJ, has awarded Diné College a grant in the amount of $299,912 to reduce domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on campus. The OVW provides federal guidance in developing the national capacity to lower violence against women.

“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 says. “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.

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,” Velveena Davis, executive director of institutional planning and reporting at Diné College, says. 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 says.

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.

About Diné College
Diné College was founded in 1968 as the first tribally controlled and accredited collegiate institution in the United States. The college is a four-year institution with campuses in Arizona and New Mexico and its student population runs near 1,600. Established in 1968 as Navajo Community College, it was later renamed Diné College. The Navajo Nation sought to create an institution of higher education that encouraged Navajo youth to become contributing members of the Navajo Nation and the world. Today, Diné College serves a predominantly Navajo student population across the 27,000 square miles of the Navajo Nation that spans across the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The college offers General Education courses that provide students with a high-quality experience while earning various certificates as well as Associate and Bachelor degree programs in the areas important to the economic, political, environmental and social development of the Navajo Nation.