It’s on all of us
Student leaders wait for the White House Campaign Preview Call to discuss the #ItsOnUs campaign
University of New Haven student leaders met on Tues., Sept 16 to participate in the White House Campaign Preview Call to discuss the #ItsOnUs campaign. The call was facilitated by Tina Tchen, Assistant to the President and the First Lady’s Chief of Staff, as well as Kyle Lierman, White House Liaison to Young Americans.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden launched the #ItsOnUs campaign on Friday, Sept 19.
This campaign is a cultural movement aimed at shifting the way society thinks about sexual assault. It is also about “raising awareness, holding ourselves and each other accountable, and looking out for someone who cannot consent,” according to the official #ItsOnUs website.
More than 800 student leaders from 46 states participated in the White House Campaign Preview Call, which was an opportunity for students to voice their questions, thoughts and concerns about the campaign. It was also a way for campuses to prepare for the launch and to plan out how they’d go about promoting and sharing their involvement with #ItsOnUs.
“I think this is very important for our university to be a part of,” Undergraduate Student Government Association President Richard Rotella said. “The campaign was something that was presented to me over the summer and I knew it was something UNH would jump to be a part of.”
Rotella, along with Title IX/Clery Compliance Coordinator Ashley Guerrera and representatives from different organizations on campus, including the Charger Bulletin, the Office of Residential Life, the Black Student Union, Victimology Club, athletics and Greek life, participated in the conference call.
“It was an honor to be able to be a part of something that is going to be happening on a national level,” said Ashley McElhare, president of the All Greek Council and representative of Greek life for the conference call.
Amber Crow, the senior residential assistant of Bethel Hall, believes that it is very important for ORL to be involved with this campaign.
“The residential students make up a vast majority of our undergraduate student body and the residential life staff is responsible for keeping our students safe,” Crow said. “We need to be as prepared as possible and as educated as possible so that we can work together to keep our campus safe.”
The #ItsOnUs Campaign logo
One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college, according to the facts presented by #ItsOnUs. Nearly 40 percent of survivors fear reprisal by their attacker; eight in ten victims actually know their attacker. #ItsOnUs hopes to assist colleges in creating a safe environment where the community is constantly on the lookout to prevent sexual assault.
#ItsOnUs is about creating a culture where sexual assault isn’t acceptable, and where victims know they are not to blame. The campaign also aims to shift the way society thinks about sexual assault: it doesn’t just involve the victim and the perpetrator, but everyone else who could have prevented it, as well.
“We are reframing sexual assault in a way that inspires everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it,” their website reads.
“Addressing an issue that affects so many people in a negative way is important to create a safe and healthy campus community,” Rotella said. “It also brings to light what our university has to offer for both victims and bystanders.”
UNH has many student resources for sexual assault on campus. The university is “committed to providing an environment in which all members of the University community are safe, free from fear, intimidation, or harassment, and able to participate fully in the educational and social opportunities available to them at the university,” according to UNH’s website.
There are many resources on campus where victims will be given a safe space. The Violence Prevention and Intervention Center is a place where all members of the UNH community can find information and resources about sexual assault, relationship abuse, and stalking. Trained Peer Educators are on staff in the center and are available to assist individuals in connecting with on- and off-campus resources. VIPC is located on the lower level of Sheffield Hall.
“Victims of sexual misconduct, whether occurring on or off campus, will be supported and assisted in obtaining medical treatment, counseling, and other resources to help them with the trauma they experience,” reads the university’s website. For more information, visit http://www.newhaven.edu/student-life/CampusLife_StudentAffairs/Office_of_the_Dean_of_Students/sexual-assault/.
“I’m one of 200 student body presidents who signed the #ItsonUs commitment and am ready to get to work to prevent sexual assaults,” Rotella said. “Are you?”