OU joins “It’s On Us” campaign

Cheyanne Kramer, Web Editor

With the fall semester starting, talk about sexual assault on college campuses comes back into mainstream media. With sources such as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center stating that around 20% of college women will be victims of a completed or attempted rape while they are in college, there’s reason for concern.

Oakland University, in partnership with the “It’s On Us” campaign, has numerous resources and educational tools in place to educate the student body on what sexual assault is and how to prevent it.

“It’s On Us” is a campaign founded by President Obama and Vice President Biden in 2015. The campaign has four main aims listed on their website:

  1. To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault
  2. To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur
  3. To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given
  4. To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported

Jean Ann Miller, director of the Center for Student Activities and Leadership, explained that OU is able to work with the “It’s On Us” campaign thanks to a grant received last year.

“They [‘It’s On Us’] offered these grant opportunities, and we applied and we got one of the grants,” she said.

“It helped put on different programs to highlight concerns about that on campus and empowering people to do something about it,  and it’s sustained itself throughout the year.”

One of these programs that’s happening in the fall is called “What You Should Have Learned in High School,” which is being put on by the Oakland University Student Congress.

Student Margaret Merogi took on the “It’s On Us” campaign last year when she was a freshman. Now a sophomore, she is in charge of the OUSC side of the campaign and hopes that the “What You Should Have Learned In High School” program impacts students this fall.

“It isn’t just about sexual assault. Different political groups on campus will be tabling, TurboVote will be there registering voters, the Gender and Sexuality Center will be there talking about safe sex, and also ‘It’s On Us’ to raise awareness of sexual assault,” she said.

Her committee with OUSC works on sexual assault prevention on campus and hopes to also spread information about where to go to report a sexual assault and resources that OU students have easy access to in times of crisis.

Jean Ann Miller worked with the “It’s On Us” campaign to create folders that contain phone numbers and other important information on places to contact if you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault.

Another way in which OU has tried to make information on college sexual assault more readily available is through purchasing the “Hunting Ground” film rights.

“Hunting Ground,” released in 2015, is a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. It follows one victim as she returns to the place she was assaulted 28 years after her assault. It premiered on CNN on November 22nd, and went on to be shortlisted for an academy award.

In order to show a film on campus, OU must first secure the rights. Part of the “It’s On Us” grant went to securing Oakland University’s right to screen “Hunting Ground” whenever, without having to file for the copyright over and over again.

Students who want to get involved with “It’s On Us” can do so in a few key ways. One is to take the pledge to follow the four initiatives of the “It’s On Us” campaign. The other is to get involved with OUSC to help put on programming educating about consent and sexual assault.

For more information about getting involved with “It’s On Us” on campus, email Margaret Merogi at [email protected] or visit itsonus.org to learn more about the campaign in general.