The UR Students’ Association (SA) collaborated with UR Communications to release a video featuring students, administrators and staff on Tuesday, Feb. 10, launching the University’s “It’s On Us” campaign against sexual violence.
SA President and senior Antoinette Esce said that she and SA Vice President and junior David Stark took “a little bit longer to get on board with a national campaign. We wanted to make sure it was right for U of R students and [would] be effective here.” She added, “This one’s a priority for us just because it’s such a cultural issue that involves everyone on campus.”
As part of UR’s campaign, student leaders from student organizations that are and are not already working to prevent sexual assault on campus to raise awareness of how students can help prevent sexual violence. This committee will hopefully serve as an educational resource for students and student organizations.
Men Opposing Violence Everywhere (MOVE) Vice President of Programming Development and senior Michael Silverstein explained that since students can often unknowingly contribute to the culture of sexual assault, “The goal of the committee is to really empower groups to have a collaborative space to work together to brainstorm […] Each group can then through their own vehicles promote sexual assault prevention education.”
Silverstein also noted that some all-male groups, including fraternities and sports teams, have asked MOVE to teach them about sexual assault prevention through a workshop.
“The community’s been very willing,” he said. “One change we’re hoping to see this semester is a lot more engagement by campus groups.”
Esce observed that the University had been working on making changes to prevent sexual violence on campus long before the official start of the campaign.
“Our new policy of affirmative consent went in place at the end of last year, and they had been working on it for a year to a year and a half before that,” she said. Additionally, during the last school year, 11 new female investigators were trained so that anyone who would have felt uncomfortable reporting sexual assaults to the previously all-male group of investigators would have more options.
Esce emphasized the importance of student feedback, and she said she hopes to hear suggestions from students on how the campaign can improve or how the University’s policies can change to be more helpful for survivors of sexual assault.
President Obama announced the national “It’s On Us” campaign last fall as an effort to prevent sexual assaults on college campuses by reminding everyone that they have a responsibility to stop them. The “It’s On Us” video released by SA and UR Communications refers to the University’s resources for survivors of sexual assault and echoes a shorter, celebrity- studded video released by the White House last fall.
SA has been working on the implementation of this campaign since late November of last year, with part of the filming of the video taking place during last semester’s finals week. It took about a month and a half to organize and film, and the students and staff in the video helped write their own lines.
Lai is a member of the class of 2018.