National campaign to combat sexual violence complements campus efforts

University Communications

A new national campaign to combat sexual violence complements efforts under way at the University to raise awareness and prevent sexual misconduct, Dean of Students in the University Michele Rasmussen said.

“It’s on Us,” an initiative announced Friday at the White House by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, invites students and all members of campus communities to embrace a culture that prevents sexual violence, and offers individuals the opportunity to sign a pledge and organize events in support of the campaign. Information on the campaign can be found at itsonus.org.

Though most University of Chicago students are still on summer break, Rasmussen said that student government leaders and others alreadyhave expressed enthusiasm for the campaign, and she expects to see activity grow as students return to campus in coming weeks.

“Sexual violence concerns us all deeply, and the University has fostered a particular commitment to addressing sexual misconduct and unlawful harassment and discrimination—that is essential to sustaining an academic community in which all can participate freely and fully,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen pointed out that over the years, University efforts to prevent sexual misconduct and address a range of related issues have included the creation of student support programs such as the Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call, the Bias Response Team, and RSVP (Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention); the growth of confidential resources offered by the Student Counseling Service and the SADoC program; and special training for University police officers in responding to acts of sexual violence.

The University also has continued to update its policies and disciplinary processes, as it did in 2006, 2010, 2011, and again this year.