Ahead of Pitt-Penn State Game, University Leaders Join Governor Wolf Against Campus Sexual Assault

September 09, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Tomorrow, for the first time in 16 years, Penn State University and University of Pittsburgh’s football teams will play each other, reviving a storied inter-state rivalry.

Ahead of the much-anticipated game, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Penn State President Eric Barron are joining Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to promote It’s On Us PA –  a statewide campaign that invites everyone to play a role in ending sexual assault.

“When it comes to ending campus sexual assault, we are not Panthers or Nittany Lions – we are united as Pennsylvanians,” Governor Wolf said. “Pennsylvania is home to some of the best schools and athletic programs in the country, and sexual assault should not be part of any student’s experience. Ensuring our students’ safety and well-being is paramount not only to their success, but the success of Pennsylvania as a whole. I urge students and supporters of Penn State, Pitt and schools across the commonwealth to take the pledge and help Pennsylvania end sexual assault.”

Pennsylvanians can take the pledge to end sexual assault at governor.pa.gov/its-on-us/.

“Penn State supports the “It’s On Us” campaign and we truly believe that this requires the utmost serious attention and dedication of our entire University,” said Penn State President Barron. “We have a zero tolerance policy, and stand with our peers across Pennsylvania to lead the way in addressing sexual violence within the Commonwealth and in American higher education.”

“There is no place at the University of Pittsburgh for sexual assault, violence or harassment.  We know that it’s on all of us, as administrators, students, fans, coaches, faculty, student-athletes, and as members of the Pitt community to take action to discourage and respond to misconduct.” Pitt Chancellor Gallagher said.  “Pitt is proud to have participated in the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign since its inception, having gathered more than 5000 pledges from individuals committed to joining in this effort. We are working to eliminate sexual misconduct and we encourage all Pennsylvanians to join us.”

Governor Wolf announced the launch of “It’s On Us PA” in January 2016 making it the first statewide campaign to address the crisis of sexual assault in schools and on college campuses. Building on the national “It’s On Us” movement launched by President Obama and Vice President Biden in 2014, “It’s On Us PA” engages education leaders from school superintendents to college presidents as well as students, athletes, teachers, families, and communities to make a personal and public pledge to play a role in preventing, addressing, and responding effectively to sexual violence.

The specific goals of “It’s On Us PA” are to:

  • Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems in schools, colleges and universities to better serve all students.
  • Remove/reduce barriers that prevent survivors from reporting and/or accessing vital resources by creating a more consistent, empowering reporting process for student survivors of gender based violence.
  • Demonstrate significant, proactive, and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging Pennsylvania’s education leaders – including college and university presidents, superintendents – as well as students, teachers, faculty, staff, families, and communities to pledge to improve their institutions’ climate.

This initiative builds on an important dialogue sparked by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape in November 2015, which brought together educators, advocates, students, and policymakers for a screening of The Hunting Ground documentary.

Pennsylvanians can join the conversation and pledge their support on social media using the hashtags #ItsOnUsPA.

Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf

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