SA campaign falls short of intention

By Brooklynn Harper

A sexual assault allegation made Aug. 16 against an NIU Greek Organization/Social Fraternity brings to light an important campus issue — sexual assault education must be provided in order to prevent these unfortunate situations.

Beyond this, students must be willing to listen to the information they are given. One possible solution to this lack of information is the Student Association’s responsibility to promote the “It’s On Us” campaign.

“It’s On Us” is a national campaign linked directly with President Obama and the White House. NIU’s SA is one of over 200 student-leadership teams that are working with the president of the United States to prevent sexual assaults on campus and among college students, according to an Oct. 12, 2015, Northern Star article.

“I’ve never heard of the Student Association or their Sexual Assault Campaign,” said Adrienne Ray, freshman corporate communication major.

The SA needs to get the word about this out; students cannot support a campaign which they do not know exists. Ray was not the only student with this opinion.

“There’s no way they’re helping to reduce sexual assaults, because they aren’t making themselves known. There’s no way it can work if people don’t even know about it,” said sophomore kinesiology major Ryan Jones.

Jones has a point, the SA can’t make a difference if the students outside of the group aren’t listening.

“Acts of sexual assault happen all over the country across many different communities and demographics. No community or demographic is spared from this reality. It is just simply an unfortunate fact of life that we all must be committed to addressing,” said SA President Giuseppe LaGioia.

This is why he met with representatives from the department of Wellness Promotion to discuss launching an updated campaign to build upon the one started in fall 2014. LaGioia said the SA plans to increase their efforts in becoming facilitators in the Bystander Intervention trainings. These are designed to raise awareness on how to intervene and help in situations such as sexual assault and various others.

We have to do our part as students. This time, when they talk to us, let’s listen and not just listen but participate. We must be committed to addressing the issue of sexual assault if we hope to prevent it.

Clarification: The sexual assault allegation was filed to NIU Police on Aug. 16 and was reported to have occurred Sept. 4, 2015.