Vice President Joe Biden recently sent out a press release regarding the It’s On Us campaign which is designed to spread awareness about the epidemic of sexual assault taking place on university and college campuses across the United States. This campaign’s main goal is to inform students nationwide that they must be the one’s to step up and stop sexual violence.
One major component of the It’s On Us campaign is to have students take a pledge promising to help end sexual assault on their campuses. The It’s On Us pledge includes students agreeing:
- To intervene instead of being a bystander.
- To recognize that any time consent is not– or cannot– be given, it is sexual assault and it is a crime.
- To do everything you can to create an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable, and all survivors are supported.
Along with having students take the pledge, Biden encourages a list of other steps that colleges and universities can take in order to put an end to sexual violence. Fort Hays State University’s Student Affairs has followed many of these suggestions and are doing their part to stop sexual violence on FHSU’s campus.
Dr. Keegan Nichols shared the ways in which organizations on campus have involved themselves with this campaign. “FHSU Student Affairs office began participation in the It’s On Us campaign during FHSU’s “I’m a Tiger” week in early November. The Student Government Association and the Office of Transition and Retention hosted the “I’m a Tiger” week to promote the new FHSU Honor Code, the Tiger Pact. Our campaign was held on the Thursday, November 5th and was a part of the Responsibility value. This day fell during the national It’s On Us campaign week. Since the It’s On Us campaign promotes the belief that it is everyone’s responsibility to end sexual assault, we wanted to help FHSU students recognize that a part of their responsibility as Tigers was to help end sexual assault on our campus.” Student Affairs also offered bystander intervention training, helping students prepare to safely intervene in unhealthy situations.
The Women’s Leadership Project also provided support for this campaign with their bystander intervention tips, and resource cards that they distributed to students on the Fort Hays campus.
Dr. Nichols also provided insight as to why the involvement of students in the It’s On Us campaign is so crucial. “ Students are the ones witnessing these actions. That is why FHSU students have the most power in preventing sexual assault and harassment on campus. Students look to their peers for approval and support in their actions. Students who have the courage to say something when they see something can create a domino effect of students recognizing when something is not okay. Calling a friend out or stepping into a situation can be intimidating, but students will find they may not be the only ones thinking a comment or action is wrong, others just aren’t sure how to address the issue either. The influence of peers and their knowledge and understanding of why something may be wrong can have tremendous results.”
The main goal that Student Affairs hopes to accomplish by its work with the It’s On Us campaign is to completely get rid of the idea that sexual assault is acceptable at Fort Hays State University. “The campaign really stresses the importance of accepting responsibility that each of us can contribute to the effort to end sexual assault on campus. We are hoping that the campaign’s strategy of giving students ownership will help change a campus culture so that when a student comes to FHSU they know that sexual assault and harassment are not tolerated and their peers will support them and defend them if an issue were to arise.”
Below is a video created by Student Affairs about the campaign: