BC3 joins “It’s on Us PA” movement; campus initiatives in works
“Did you do the right thing?”
That is the recurring rhetorical question on this Friday in Elizabethtown, where education officials meet to sign Gov. Tom Wolf’s “It’s On Us PA” pledge, the first statewide campaign to address the crisis of sexual assault in schools and on college campuses. Read more...
“When you were in college, can you recall a time when you witnessed something that was just over the line, or approached being over the line?”
“Did you do the right thing?”
Twenty percent of women and 6 percent of men are sexually assaulted in college, according to NotAlone.gov.
Forty percent of survivors fear reprisal by their attacker.
Only 2 percent of incapacitated rape survivors and only 13 percent of rape survivors report the assault.
Eighty percent of survivors knew their attacker, a friend or significant other.
“As the father of two female college students, 21 and 19 years old, I think that this is bringing an awareness to a large social issue,” says Dr. Nick Neupauer, president of Butler County Community College.
Neupauer signs the pledge on behalf of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges.
Signers agree to recognize that nonconsensual sex is sexual assault; to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur; to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given; and to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Wolf understands the demographic served by Pennsylvania’s 32 public institutions, 14 community colleges, 14 state-owned universities and four state-related universities, Neupauer says.
“Pennsylvania is home to some of the best schools in the country, and sexual assault should not be part of any student’s school or college experience,” Wolf says. “Ensuring our students' safety and well-being is paramount not only to their success, but the success of Pennsylvania as a whole.”
500 schools, 1,100 events in 16 months
Nationally, more than 275,000 individuals have taken the “It’s On Us” pledge since President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden launched the campaign in September 2014. Nearly 500 schools in 48 states have hosted a total of 1,100 “It’s On Us” events.
“It's On Us PA” will engage education leaders as well as students, teachers, families and communities to make a personal and public pledge to play a role in preventing, addressing and responding effectively to sexual violence, according to Wolf’s office.
Specific goals of “It’s On Us PA” are to:
–Improve awareness, prevention, reporting and response systems in schools, colleges and universities to better serve all students.
–Remove or reduce barriers that prevent survivors from reporting and-or accessing vital resources by creating a more consistent, empowering reporting process for student survivors of gender-based violence.
–Demonstrate significant, proactive and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging Pennsylvania’s education leaders – college and university presidents, superintendents, students, teachers, staff and families – and communities to pledge to improve their institutions’ climate.
BC3 in 2017 will engage in a multi-pronged approach to address sexual violence issues, according to Dr. Case Willoughby, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. That approach will include measures to create a campus climate that reduces the likelihood of sexual violence, to support survivors of sexual violence, to raise awareness of the nature and prevalence of sexual violence, and to increase knowledge of college policies, procedures and supports for those who may have been harassed and/or assaulted, including Title IX and anti-discrimination policies.
In the first approach, with the goal of reaching as broad an audience as possible, BC3 plans to launch an online tutorial for all students, faculty and staff. Those taking the tutorial will know basic information on sexual harassment, sexual violence, their Title IX rights and campus procedures and resources, Willoughby says.
“Students will recognize that sexual violence is a significant problem facing college students,” Willoughby says, “and will be presented with information about sexual violence, resources for survivors and others, Title IX and campus procedures.”
In the second approach, VOICe – the Victims Outreach Intervention Center – will host a “Clothesline Project” in the main lounge of BC3’s Student Success Center, according to Willoughby. Shirts decorated by survivors of violence will be displayed.
“It is a moving, powerful way to make the issue very real,” Willoughby says.
Resources will be available on site.
Willoughby and his staff are also pursuing grants as part of the “It’s On Us PA” campaign to make awareness even more visible on campus, Neupauer says.
“This is going to be strategically woven into Welcome Days, to student gatherings and student life,” Neupauer says. “We want to be a good partner in the commonwealth, support the governor’s initiative, understand the significance of the demographic we serve and go forward in increasing awareness on our campus.” Show less...
BC3 President’s Blog: It’s On Us Pledge