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Senate passes annual SHARPP budget

Published: Monday, February 19, 2007

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

The 2007-2008 budget of the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) was unanimously passed at Sunday night's Student Senate meeting in the second week of school service fiscal year assessments.

According to last night's agenda, SHARPP's funding is derived through the support of UNH and state and federal grants administered by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office and the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (NHCADSV).

Remaining at one dollar taken out of every student's tuition, this is the third year of the mandatory SHARPP fee, according to Kelly Gilpatrick, business manager on the Student Senate Executive Board.

Because the university has levelly funded the program for many years, SHARPP has sought external funding to meet the increased demand for various services. This year SHARPP will receive $119,360 in aid from NHCADSV, composed of funding from the following grants: VOCA (Victims of Crime Act), FVPSA (Family Violence Prevention Service Act), RPEG (Rape Prevention Education Grant), and the Sexual Assault Victims Assistance Fund, according to Gilpatrick.

These outside funding programs provide about 65 percent of the total operating budget.

"Each budget is broken down by line item," she said. "There are revenues and expenditures and within that separate line items for various things such as facility user fees, salaries, fringe benefits, equipment, et cetera."

As a member of the NHCADSV, SHARPP is required to use funding provided by the coalition to provide education and direct services, including a 24-hour crisis line, court and hospital advocacy, crisis intervention, ongoing support and information and referrals to survivors and their allies from the UNH community, according to Gilpatrick.

The remainder of SHARPP's budget is provided through the University's General Fund, student fees and private donations provided through their gift account. Those funds and the university's Office of Residential Life provide the remaining 35 percent of the funding for the program's general operating needs, according to their website.

According to SHARPP's website, they are a unique program that not all colleges and universities have. The program has a history that spans over 25 years. It has two main branches - Direct Services and Outreach. Through Direct Services, advocates work with primary and secondary survivors of sexual violence and relationship abuse in order to empower individuals to make the best decisions for themselves. Outreach provides education as a form of prevention through programs that elicit awareness, examination and change of cultural values that condone or encourage sexual violence.

According to the website, in 1978, a group of concerned faculty, staff and community members who wanted to prevent rape and to reach out to survivors of aggravated felonious sexual assault got together.

The group wanted to make the University community a safer place for all. Specifically, their goals included developing services to offer survivors, educating the public about the issue and the resources available, recording statistics of campus sexual assaults, training personnel, and developing plans for prevention.

Initially, the group was called the Rape Task Force, and was later changed to R.A.I.P. (Rape Assistance and Information Program). In 1982, the name SHARPP was adopted.

SHARPP's director, Mary Mayhew, stressed that not many people know about SHARPP and its services until something happens and they need them.

"I encouraged everyone at last night's meeting to visit the SHARPP office in Health Services," said Gilpatrick, "and to set up a meeting with Mary if they had any more questions or were interested in becoming a SHARPP advocate."

One of the Senate's liaisons for the SHARPP budget, Sophomore Alissa Marchant, has remained in contact with Mayhew and Gilpatrick and keeps record of the programs budget. She showed a PowerPoint presentation at the meeting to explain the budget easily to the Senators.

She said that the staff at SHARPP is very helpful. She is involved with organizing Take Back the Night as well as The ClothesLine Project, which are provided from SHARPP.

According to SHARPP's website, Take Back the Night happens every April where communities across the United States join together for Take Back The Night marches, rallies and speak-outs in an effort to end sexual assault in their cities and towns, and to give survivors a place to heal. The Clothesline Project is held during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (October), and is a visual display of shirts with written messages and illustrations that have been created by survivors and their families and friends. Its purpose is to educate, to mourn those who have died as a result of the violence and to bear witness to victims' courage to survive and heal.

There are many ways to get involved at SHARPP, so there is something for everyone. Some leadership opportunities, such as becoming an advocate or peer educator, require specific training and a year commitment. Other volunteer opportunities are aimed at specific populations, such as the Greek community and men.

Contact the office, because there are often special projects and other ways to help out. They are located at the Verrette House at 12 Ballard Street in Durham. The office phone is 862-3494 and the crisis line is 862-7233 or 862-SAFE.

Next week's Student Senate meeting will discuss the matter of the Campus Recreation fee and its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

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