As part of its commitment to prevent, respond to and educate about sexual assault, Michigan State University is joining a new White House campaign aimed at raising awareness about sexual assault and enabling all members of the campus community to take a stand.
“It’s On Us,” unveiled Sept. 19, challenges everyone in the community to see sexual assault as a problem they need to prevent and better address. The White House initiative will complement MSU’s “No Excuse for Sexual Assault” campaign, launched in January 2013.
“Sexual violence is not met with indifference on our campus; that goes against everything Michigan State University stands for,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “This is our challenge and a problem that requires our intervention — every single one of us in this community. We cannot be passive observers.”
The campaign, which the White House is rolling out and communicating directly to student groups on MSU’s campus, will focus on bystander intervention, particularly among men. “It's On Us” will use social media and partnerships with colleges and private partners nationwide to attempt to create a culture where sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Paulette Granberry Russell, director of MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and Title IX coordinator, said the initiative works well with MSU’s own “No Excuse for Sexual Assault” campaign.
“The importance of these messages – that there is no excuse for this behavior and that it is up to all of us to put a stop to it – cannot be overstated,” she said. “We welcome the White House’s support as we continue to improve the ways in which we address this critical issue.”
Over the past several years, MSU has taken numerous steps regarding sexual violence, among them:
- Updated many policies and hearing processes to reflect guidance from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights
- Developed a Title IX coordinated response team
- Created a new mandatory e-learning program for students and enhanced a peer-led interactive workshop
- Created new campus-wide communications regarding university reporting protocols
- Drafted a new, comprehensive sexual misconduct policy and recently announced the establishment of a university task force on sexual assault and relationship violence