Campaign to end sexual assault gains traction at UCF
As the "It's On Us" campaign sweeps college campuses across the nation, Knights are pledging to end sexual assault right here at UCF.
The campaign itself kicked off earlier during the semester after an event at the White House with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
On the It's On Us website sits its pledge, the creed of the campaign, which reads: "I pledge to recognize that non-consensual 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."
More than 95,000 pledges have been made across the nation and UCF Knights make up more than 2,800 of them.
In fact, in 2013, three sexual assault cases were reported to the Office of Student Conduct and 16 to the UCF Police Department, said UCF PD public information officer Courtney Gilmartin.
Aside from the White House and Generation Progress, the It's On Us campaign also partners with 48 other entities and companies, said It's On Us Campaign Manager Kristin Avery, including the NCAA, Viacom, Tumblr and the United States Olympic Committee, among others.
Moving forward, Avery said that in December, the campaign will look at doing some smaller strategy sessions across the nation to develop a long-term program to change the conversation of sexual assaults around campuses and promote being an active bystander, especially on college campuses.
"We really want to work with universities across the country, large and small, to really help build this program on college campuses," Avery said. "We really want to spark as many conversations as we can across the nation, so where we really want this campaign to go is really figuring out [how] to best engage as many people as possible. We know a lot of schools are doing a lot of really great issues, and oftentimes it's sort of the same people every year who work on this issue, so we really want to broaden [the conversation.]"
UCF has already had four different events in partnership with Wellness and Health Promotion Services, UCF Cares, Victim Services, Student Government Association and Counseling and Psychological Services that promote the It's On Us campaign. Spring events are also in the works, according to an email from UCF spokesman Gene Kruckemyer.
But UCF's involvement with It's On us goes back almost to the days of its inception.
Back in September during UCF President John C. Hitt's State of the University Address, Hitt mentioned the It's On Us campaign and UCF's support for it, as well as campus resources for violent-crime prevention.
"We also are strongly supporting the White House's new It's On Us campaign that seeks to change attitudes about sexual assaults," Hitt said. "On this subject, let me be direct and clear: UCF does not tolerate sexual violence or misconduct in any form. We will listen to and care for survivors. We will respond swiftly to help survivors overcome barriers and shield them from additional sexual misconduct, and we will leave no Knight behind."