[caption id="attachment_11967" align="alignnone" width="300"] © Joey Khan Photography[/caption] Seton Hall Athletics has partnered with the BIG EAST Conference to take a larger role on campus in support of the It’s On Us initiative, a campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses that President Barack Obama launched last September. This activity comes in conjunction with the national It’s On Us Week of Action, which aims to build momentum for the year-old movement by getting more people involved and aware of the issue. In engaging student-athletes in this activism, said Robert Sasso, assistant athletics director for Student-Athlete Development & Leadership, “This is an issue that affects them directly.” The national statistic is that 1 in 5 female college students will be the victim of sexual assault. “Those numbers are way too high, so we need to make sure we are doing our part to not only educate the campus community, but empower the student-athletes to educate those on campus,” Sasso said. The campaign is four fold; it focuses on recognition of what constitutes sexual assault, identifying suspect situations, intervening in these situations, and creating an environment denouncing sexual assault as well as supporting survivors. Seton Hall’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is a group of student-athlete representatives from each team who partner with administration to organize events and volunteer activities for athletics. Committee President Emily Hansinger said the group helped raise awareness by filming a public service announcement, released Tuesday, and had student-athletes sign a banner and pledge saying they were on board with this initiative. “The whole goal of this week is just to make students aware that sexual assault is a problem, but a problem that can be fixed if we all team up together to fight it,” Hansinger said. A pledge available to students on the website Itsonus.org encourages students to be pro-active in this campaign. Vice President Joe Biden visited several colleges on the east coast already to lend support to this campaign, urging students to take the pledge. Athletics hopes to see student athletes and get as many students to take the pledge as possible, said Sasso. “I believe that by raising awareness that this is in fact a problem can help make people more aware of what they can do to help stop this from happening,” Hansinger said. “I hope that students realize that each of us individually has a role in stopping this problem.” Emily Balan can be reached at email@example.com.
SHU Athletics joins initiative to end sexual assault