The University of Northern Iowa has won a grant of nearly one million dollars to work with the other two state universities to help combat violence against women on campus. Annette Lynch is the project director for the grant. Lynch says this grant will continue the work she and others started with two previous grants.

Lynch says it’s a "flagship proposal," which means they want U-N-I to be a model campus for programs as the other two campuses. Lynch says it will let all three schools pool their knowledge on the issue.

She says the exciting thing is there are also very good things happening at I-S-U and Iowa and the program allows them to bring the experts from all three campuses together in a working unit to try and prevent "gender violence."

Lynch got her first grant in 2000, and another that ran through 2004, allowing her to develop some of the programs that’ll be implemented at the other schools. Lynch says one of the more recognized programs is a forum acting program where students are used to educate others students about gender violence issues on campus. Lynch says the acting program has even been used at universities outside the state.

Lynch says the statistics shows a majority of the violence is aimed at women — but she says it takes an overall approach to make a difference. She believes the problem needs to be worked on by both men and women as men are also affected by the victimization of women. "So if you have a sister, if you have a friend that’s a woman who’s been assaulted, that man is often a very good ally in terms of working with other men to try and end the problem," according to Lynch.

While there have been recent assaults of women on the campuses by strangers, Lynch says there’s a larger overall problem. Lynch says the stranger rape is not the most common form of rape on campus, it’s usually someone the student is familiar with, sometimes a friend or someone they know.

"So this grant does address how to change college culture so those rapes are not as common," Lynch says. Lynch says all three universities have been working on the problems on their campuses, so they should be able to get working together immediately under this new grant.