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It's on Us campaign comes to the UI

BY LILY ABROMEIT | SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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Student organizations at the University of Iowa are taking an initiative to battle sexual assault on the UI campus as part of a national campaign.

Following the launch of the “It’s On Us” campaign through the national government last week, UI Student Government, the Graduate and Professional Student Government and the President’s Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct encourage students to sign the pledge to take responsibility to stop rape on college campuses.

“We’re at a point where some of the discourse surrounding sexual assault is really changing, and we have a chance to really go from a victim-blaming attitude to all of us taking responsibility for a really serious issue on campus,” UISG Vice President Jeffrey Ding said. “It’s On Us, especially applied to the University of Iowa, could really change the campus environment.”

According to the White House press release about the campaign, “It’s On Us aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it.”

It’s On Us was launched in partnership with a variety of colleges and universities, the Center for American Progress’ Generation Progress, college sports organizations such as the NCAA, and private companies.

UISG President Patrick Bartoski said he has been involved in the campaign creation since May, along with leaders from 200 other colleges and universities across the country.

As part of pledging to be a part of the campaign, UISG, along with other student groups, will implement individual initiatives to introduce at the UI on Oct. 10.

“Part of the campaign … is getting as many students as possible on campus taking the pledge, getting involved right away, and trying to become part of the solution,” Bartoski said.

Ding said the initiatives will focus on increasing awareness and visibility of the message, which will include encouraging students to change their Facebook profile photos to include the It’s On Us logo.

The second goal will bring more focus to the UISG Safe Ride program, which provides rides to students in emergency situations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

These groups will also look into writing a script for a public-service announcement that will be specific to the UI but similar to the national “1 is 2 Many” announcement launched in April.

Ding said this would involve giving high-profile people at the university the chance to take a stance for a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault.

Kira Pasquesi, the vice head of the President’s Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct, said she thinks the partnership will go beyond the committee, UISG, and the grad-student government.

“I think the partnerships are going to be a lot broader than that,” she said. “We’re also looking through the University of Iowa Antiviolence Coalition. [The] most exciting thing about this campaign in fact, is that it’s bringing other offices and entities in collaboration. I think those are all things we can really get on board with.”

Pasquesi said she is most pleased to see a focus in the campaign on the environmental and cultural shifts.

“I like that as a student I can see this message, and it’s a reminder that … it also has to be on me and that it’s on all of us,” she said. “I like that it’s not just looking to leaders and administrators but that we’re looking to each other to prevent sexual assault and intervene as bystanders.”

She said she thinks this campaign will call on the entire campus community.

“We’re looking for opportunities for people to pledge in person and via social media,” she said. “We really like the visual stamp of the It’s On Us campaign because it reminds people that addressing sexual assault is a shared responsibility for all of us.”


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