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It's on Us official on campus

BY DANIEL VALENTIN | OCTOBER 22, 2014 5:00 AM

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Student leaders have taken a stance against the way sexual assault is discussed on campus, along with 200 other colleges and universities.

The University of Iowa Student Government passed a bill Tuesday to lend support to the It’s On Us campaign, which is working to raise awareness and take action against sexual assault.

UISG Executive Chief of Staff Keely Banach said the group felt compelled to make a decision in favor of student safety after hearing the reports of sexual assaults on campus.

“When I came here as a freshman, my parents told me this would be my new home and that I would be safe here,” she said. “This university is a home, so the people who live here ought to feel safe in it.”

The It’s On Us campaign is a national initiative being implemented across the country, designed as a way to shift thinking and action toward preventing sexual assault on college campuses.

The kickoff for It’s On Us is Oct. 28 and will include the opportunity for students to sign a banner and go on the UISG website to sign a pledge in support of the campaign.

Banach said she supports the action taken by UISG to appoint a safety liaison in order to further make decisions that would improve the sense of security that students have.

“Ideas and juices are flowing here in the Senate on how to handle the situation we’re in regarding the sexual assaults,” she said. “Sexual assault is not commonly discussed by students, and we want to change that.”

Banach said the priority of this campaign should be to provide students with the resources they need and giving them a sense of empowerment so they may never have to be the victim of such a “terrible act.”

UISG President Patrick Bartoski said students, staff, and faculty are all involved in the prevention of sexual assault.

“Everyone’s doing a tremendous job to support the awareness of sexual assault,” he said.

“Prevention starts with everyone feeling comfortable enough to report anything that happens.”

Bartoski said the university does a great job providing resources and consolidating information on these situations, but that it is harder to solve this issue when incidents go unreported.

“This issue is multilayered,” he said. “We need to get everyone aware, increase bystander intervention, and educate everyone because people ought to know how to deal with sexual assault.”

UISG Vice President Jeffery Ding said It’s On Us is a way for the university to show solidarity against sexual assaults on college campuses.

He said he hopes this effort can help create a secure environment for the students and staff on campus, as well as a stronger sense of safety.

“The campaign is a great way for students to get engaged,” Ding said. “While it is symbolic to take on the issue sexual assault, this campaign also makes it very tangible with all its resources.”


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