USF students decide ‘It’s On Us’
There have been 13 reported cases of sexual assault at USF in the last two years alone, according to University Police’s security report.
Starting today, students will see posters featuring leaders of Greek organizations and student athletes who have taken the “It’s On Us” pledge, to mark the start of a week of events geared toward sexual assault prevention.
Student Government (SG) is partnering with the Center for Victims Advocacy and Violence Prevention, as well as University Communications and Marketing, in support of a national movement started by the White House to get students to commit to ending sexual assaults on college campuses.
Judelande Jeune, SG director of university affairs, said USF is only one of many universities that will host events during the week.
“Although Victims Advocacy has already signed up for the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign and has been working with the White House, a lot of students don’t really know about it,” she said. “The university wants to use this week to boost students’ awareness about the campaign.”
SG will kick off the week in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Atrium beginning at 10 this morning. SG representatives will hand out teal pins for students to wear throughout the week.
Teal is the color associated with sexual assaults and sexual violence advocacy.
At every event throughout the week, students will be encouraged to take the “It’s On Us” pledge, which asks students to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, intervene when they identify situations that may lead to sexual assault and create a supportive environment for victims.
“When you take the pledge and stand against sexual assault, you become aware of your actions,” Jeune said. “Not that you are going to be out there assaulting people, but that when sexual assaults happen, how to act in certain situations, how do you prevent it on campus, how do you not victimize the victim and those sorts of things.”
The kickoff is followed by Teal Out Day on Tuesday. Trees across campus will be wrapped in teal streamers and students will be encouraged to wear teal clothing.
There will also be a sexual harassment workshop conducted by the Center for Victims Advocacy and Violence Prevention on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Alpha Delta Pi building in Greek Village.
Victim Advocacy will team up with SG on Wednesday to bring a large chalkboard to Bull Market where students will be asked to write ways in which they can take personal responsibility for stopping sexual assaults.
“It’s things like making sure your friend has a ride when you’re out partying, not leaving them alone or making sure you know where the blue lights are on campus,” Jeune said.
A candlelight vigil in the MSC Ballroom on Thursday will close out the week and Director of the Center for Victims Advocacy and Violence Prevention Nanci Newton will speak to students about campuswide responses to sexual assaults.
Following the address by Newton, student body president Jean Cocco will lead a procession from the MSC Ballroom out to Crescent Hill where the candles will be lit.
Since the roll out of the national event, the university has been partnering with Greek organizations and student leaders to produce an “It’s On Us” video for USF, which will premiere at the vigil.
Student posters will also be displayed on the MSC television screens as well as on social media.
Students can join the discussion on social media about the university’s campaign by using the hashtag #ItsOnUSF, which will be followed by the events’ sponsors throughout the week.