Student-Led Efforts to End Campus Sexual Assault Backed by White House
As part of Generation Progress’ It’s On Us Week of Action, Vice President Biden encouraged students to ramp up efforts to end campus sexual assault.
College students across the U.S. are being encouraged to boost efforts to end campus sexual assault as part of a joint White House-Generation Progress national campaign known as “It’s On Us” this week.
Ahead of the It’s On Us Week of Action, Generation Progress announced the creation of a new Student Advisory Committee composed of 17 students from across the U.S. who “will not only play an integral role in activating new students on campuses nationwide, but will also serve as student thought leaders and help shape both national and local outreach strategy,” according to a Generation Progress news release.
It’s On Us Campaign Manager Kristin Avery said the organization was “thrilled” to work with the young leaders. “The growth of this movement depends on individuals like the ones in this group organizing on a grassroots level, and we’re excited to see them empower their peers to step up and end campus sexual assault,” she said.
And the group had a strong ally from the beginning: the White House.
In September 2014, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden partnered with Generation Progress to launch the “It’s On Us” campaign. As part of the Week of Action, Biden traveled throughout the country to increase awareness and encourage students to get involved in demanding that “universities be held accountable” for instances of sexual assault.
“President Obama and I have made it crystal clear that schools that fail in this responsibility are in violation of Title IX and risk federal investigation and financial penalties,” Biden wrote in an op-ed that appeared in a number of college newspapers. “Each of you can make it clear that you expect nothing less. … It’s on me. It’s on you. It’s on us—and it’s within our power to end sexual violence on campus once and for all.”
Student organizations nationwide are taking the call to action seriously. Last week, the Student Government Association at the University of Maryland unanimously voted to pass a bill that called for the creation of an ad hoc committee that would review and recommend changes to sexual assault prevention training at the university, according to a report in the school’s student newspaper, The Diamondback. Currently the university requires online sexual-misconduct training, but many campus groups and organizations argue that in-person training would be far superior.
“In that online format, there’s no way to check if people are actively engaged, and it can kind of be repetitive and terrible,” Student Government Association’s Shared Governance Committee Codirector Lindsay Strehle told The Diamondback.
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at an "It's On Us" event at Clemson earlier this week. (Clemson University/Flickr)