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Wartburg not taking part in ‘It’s On Us’ campaign

Wartburg College is currently not taking part in the national "It's On Us" campaign, but has its own sexual assault awareness program. — Jeanne Edson/TRUMPET
Wartburg College is currently not taking part in the national “It’s On Us” campaign, but has its own sexual assault awareness program. — Jeanne Edson/TRUMPET

Over 200 colleges and universities across the nation have signed a pledge to bring the “It’s On Us” campaign to their campuses,  but Wartburg is not one of them.

In mid-September, the White House administration launched a campaign for sexual assault awareness on college campus called “It’s On Us.”

Only four universities in Iowa have joined the “It’s On Us” movement. The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa and Drake University.

Stephanie Newsom, the director of counseling services and the adviser for Sexual Misconduct Assault Resource Team (SMART), said she was surprised by the low number of pledges in Iowa.

Newsom also said Wartburg is already equipped with a sexual assault awareness program.

“I know for us, we just haven’t taken the time to look into what it would take to be seen as one of their partners. But also I know we are already sending those messages out around campus through SMART and lots of different type of programming,” Newsom said.

Wartburg West dealt with an alleged sexual assault last year.

“It’s On Us” campaign organizers said including private schools into the list of pledges is important.

“We are working with many smaller colleges. In fact, several have already created their own ‘It’s On Us’ PSAs, which we are highlighting through our ‘It’s On Us’ social media channels,” campaign managers said in a statement to The Trumpet. “The campaign will continue to work with and amplify current sexual assault awareness programs on campuses, and we’re open to discussing opportunities with other organizations that want to be involved.”

The campaign cites statistics which estimate one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college

“We are asking everyone to create an environment, be it a dorm room, a party, a club or a sports team, or the greater college campus, where sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported,” according to the “It’s On Us” mission statement.

“Raising awareness. Holding ourselves and each other accountable. Looking out for someone who cannot consent.”

Though she agreed Wartburg is already presenting students with the needed information for sexual assault awareness, SMART president Ariel Ford Loosier said she hopes to incorporate more of the material from the national campaign.

“I want to make campus feel like a place where they can have a support group and they feel like they can come here,” Ford Loosier said. “Sexual assault is a topic that doesn’t get talked about a lot and a lot of people hide it because they don’t feel like they’re going to get support if they were to talk about it,” she said.

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) officially launched their pledge to the “It’s On Us” campaign last week.

Mark Rowe-Barth, UNI associate director for student wellness, said the university hopes to use the campaign to take on a wide variety of sexual assault related problems.

“This is everyone’s issue when you think about gender violence of any kind although this is focused on sexual assault, but if we’re talking about relationship violence, stalking…it’s everyone’s issue,” Barth said.  “We all have a role to play in addressing this issue.”

Ford Loosier said she is anxious to see where the campaign leads and particular is pleased to see how the pledge targets bystanders.

“I feel like people know it’s an issue, but don’t want to talk about it and I feel like it needs to be addressed,” she said.

For more information about the “It’s On Us” campaign and how to individually take the pledge against becoming a sexual assault bystander, visit itsonus.org.

Anyone interested in joining SMART can contact Ford Loosier at ariel.fordloosier@wartburg.edu.

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