President Obama and Vice President Biden announced a new administration initiative to combat rape and sexual assault on college campuses Friday. While the campaign urges public participation, those who decide to sign on will forward their information to a liberal think tank.
The campaign, dubbed “It’s On Us,” is being conducted in collaboration with over 200 universities around the country, as well as groups such as the NCAA and even the video game company Electronic Arts. Celebrities are getting in on the act as well, joining Obama and Biden in a video to push the initiative.
“It’s on us to stop sexual assault,” opens actor Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” fame. “To get in the way before it happens,” says actress Kerry Washington.
Participating organizations and companies have vowed to promote the campaign on their websites, social media accounts, and in other areas.
A website for the endeavor, promoted by President Obama in the video, asks visitors to take a pledge to intervene against possible assaults, to “not to be a bystander to the problem but to be a part of the solution.” Pledgetakers are asked to change their profile pictures on social media outlets to the campaign’s logo and to supply their emails and zip codes to the campaign.
Those who participate will have their information forwarded to the Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank with significant ties to the Obama administration. This is because the It’s On Us campaign, despite its presidential endorsement, is actually being undertaken by Generation Progress, a student activism arm of CAP.
Accompanying the It’s On Us campaign is a new program by the Department of Justice, which will distribute over $6 million to 18 colleges to facilitate the development of new sexual assault protocols on campus.
Sexual assault on campus has garnered much more attention in recent years, with activists arguing that as many as one in four women in college experience sexual assault before leaving (other groups dispute this figure).
In spring, the Department of Education announced that over 50 colleges and universities around the country, including elite schools such as Harvard, are under investigation for alleged violations of Title IX due to their handling of sexual assault.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators led by Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri recently proposed a bill creating new fines and other penalties for universities that fail to meet obligations under Title IX.