“It’s On Us” Awareness Week: promoting a safe campus climate

Women's Tennis Its on usSUNY New Paltz was among the first U.S. colleges and universities to respond to the national “It’s On Us” Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign, launched in 2014 by President Barack Obama as an awareness initiative to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses. College staff helped in developing and implementing a SUNY-wide policy on sexual assault prevention and response, and students got involved in the production of an “It’s On Us – New Paltz” video.

As the “It’s On Us” campaign enters its second year, a new wave of Safe Campus Outreach, Prevention and Education (SCOPE) programming – developed by a campus committee of the same name – is coming to New Paltz during the week of Nov. 9-13 to renew the community’s collective commitment to combating sexual and relationship violence.

“The ‘It’s On Us’ campaign is just one of many vehicles through which campuses can raise awareness within their communities,” said Tanhena Pacheco Dunn, executive director for Compliance & Campus Climate and Title IX coordinator. “There are many ways to give voice to this issue, but we know that no one program or one message is sufficient. That’s why SCOPE has engaged students in this week of events: to introduce a variety of opportunities to open the conversation and learn more.”

  • “Consent is Tea” Flash Improv: In their efforts to educate students about the meaning of “consent,” the Center for Student Development and the Department of Residence Life have made use of a short web video, “Consent is Tea,” that has become very popular with students. The video uses humor to explain consent, without diminishing the importance of the subject. “It’s On Us” awareness week opens with a flash improv event at the Student Union Building where student actors will perform scenes based on the video. Monday, Nov. 9 from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Student Union Building (SUB) first floor.
  • RAD Teaser: The Department of Residence Life partners with the University Police Department to offer Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) courses on campus each semester. This teaser event will introduce some of the self-defense techniques to interested students, faculty, staff and community members. Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in SUB 100.
  • Step UP! Bystander Intervention Trainings: The Center for Student Development regularly offers Step UP! education, a national initiative developed to help counter a psychological phenomenon known as “the bystander effect,” wherein the presence of others prevents an individual from offering help to a victim in an emergency situation. Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 3 – 5 p.m. in SUB 62/63 and Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium.
  • Donna Freitas, “Sex, Sexuality and Choices”: Freitas is the author of “Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses,” a consideration of the prevalence of “hookup culture” on at colleges and universities, and the danger it poses to young women and men alike. Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. in Lecture Center 104.

New Paltz community members can also be on the lookout for the eponymous icons of the Red Flag Campaign, a national movement with a particular focus on the kinds of physical, emotional and psychological violence that can manifest in different kinds of dating relationships between college students. Red flags and posters will be on display around campus as a reminder that the signs of relationship violence deserve to be taken seriously.

More information about the “It’s On Us” campaign can be found at Itsonus.org and at the College’s Title IX page.