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Representative John Tilley speaks to Course Provided by Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women

Students studying the history of legislative reforms addressing violence against women benefited from a special guest in their Monday political science class taught by Professor Carol Jordan. Representative John Tilley (D, 8th House District) served as the primary sponsor for the most significant piece of legislation related to domestic violence and sexual assault passed by the 2015 General Assembly. He spoke to Professor Jordan’s PS 492 class about the need for what became known as House Bill 8; the provisions of the bill; and how it will expand protection to a broader group of assault, rape, and stalking victims.  Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies majors in the class also posed questions to him about the political process that ultimately resulted in the bill’s passage.

"Having Representative Tilley speak to the students was an incredible opportunity for them to learn more about domestic violence and sexual assault and how those issues fare in the Kentucky General Assembly. He articulated the need for HB 8 in a compelling way, and helped the students understand the political process the bill went through," said Professor Carol Jordan.

Representative Tilley also shared the data he used while advocating for HB 8, pointing out that many of the studies he cited were conducted by UK faculty. He emphasized that having research data made a significant impact on members of the General Assembly and aided in detailing how significant the problems of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are for Kentucky women.

While a guest in the class, Representative Tilley also met with Brandie Cobb, the first recipient of the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship offered by the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women. The scholarship is designed for survivors of abuse to help them escape and recover from violence they have experienced.  Ms. Cobb is from Muhlenberg County and was served by Sanctuary, Inc., the domestic violence and sexual assault program located in Representative Tilley’s district.  Since coming to UK, Ms. Cobb has been inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars for her commitment to the ideals of scholarship, leadership, and service. Representative Tilley said of Ms. Cobb, “I am incredibly proud of Brandie. To watch her overcome early trauma and become a role model for other abuse survivors is an inspiration to all of us.”  Ms. Cobb will graduate from UK in May 2016 and plans to go on to graduate school.

Note on the 2016/2017 Women’s Empowerment Scholarship

The Women’s Empowerment Scholarship (WES) will be available to support a new student in the fall semester of 2016.  To be eligible for a WES, applicants must 

  • have been served through one of the domestic violence or rape crisis programs in Kentucky, or the UK Violence Intervention & Prevention Center; and
  • apply and have been admitted to the University of Kentucky, with plans to secure a bachelor’s degree in a field of their choosing.

The core of the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship Program is a stipend provided by the OPSVAW.  The stipend may be up to $4,000 a semester, adjusted based on the level of other grant and scholarship funds available, the need presented by the applicant, and the number of credit hours being taken by the student. The scholarship is renewable.

The on-line application form for the WES will be available in late November/early December and will be publicly announced at that time.