On One Year Anniversary of “It’s On Us PA” Campaign, Governor Wolf Highlights Steps Taken to End Campus Sexual Assault
February 01, 2017
Harrisburg, PA – One year ago this week, Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf stood with 40 Pennsylvania college and university presidents at Elizabethtown College to announce the launch of “It’s On Us PA” – the first statewide campaign to address the crisis of sexual assault in schools and on college campuses. That announcement kicked off a year of action, in which the Governor directed his administration to work with community leaders and stakeholders from across the Commonwealth to raise awareness and begin to develop state-level policy recommendations to address sexual assault in our schools and postsecondary institutions.
“Sexual assault has a corrosive effect on all of us and we need to treat it as the serious problem it truly is,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “My administration has been working diligently since the launch of the “It’s On Us PA” campaign to combat this urgent and serious epidemic, specifically in Pennsylvania schools and college campuses. Our work is far from finished, but I am proud of the strides we have taken over the last year to increase awareness, education and resources to combat sexual assault.”
Since the Governor launched “It’s On Us PA” one year ago, the Wolf Administration has taken significant steps to raise awareness and begin to address the epidemic of campus rape, including:
- Following the launch of “It’s On Us PA,” Wolf Administration officials, including Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and PA Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, convened a series of roundtable discussions across the Commonwealth to solicit feedback from education and community stakeholders on the role of administrators, students, community members and policymakers in combating sexual violence in schools and on college campuses.
- On April 5, 2016 during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Governor Tom Wolf joined Vice President Joe Biden to launch the “It’s On Us” National Spring Week of Action. The event at the University of Pennsylvania kicked off a week in which thousands of young people in Pennsylvania and across the country hosted and participated in events designed to not only raise awareness about the campaign but also continue to work to foster a culture of consent.
- On June 8, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf and Jay Wright, head coach of the NCAA National Championship Villanova team, held a press conference to discuss the importance of combatting sexual assault on college campuses. The Governor and Coach joined together to urge every Pennsylvanian to join the “It’s On Us PA” campaign and take the pledge to be part of the solution to ending sexual assault.
- On September 9, 2016, ahead of the much-anticipated Penn State University and University of Pittsburgh football game, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Penn State President Eric Barron joined with Governor Tom Wolf to promote “It’s On Us PA” and highlight their collective efforts to end campus sexual assault in Pennsylvania.
- On October, 26, 2016, bestselling author Jon Krakauer traveled to Harrisburg to discuss his book “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town” and Wolf administration efforts to combat campus sexual assault in Pennsylvania through the “It’s On Us PA” campaign. At public event at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, Krakauer participated in an in-depth discussion focused on the epidemic of campus rape across the country.
- On November 29, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf announced that 36 postsecondary institutions in Pennsylvania were awarded were awarded grants of up to $30,000 to address and combat campus sexual assault. The grants were awarded to community colleges, and independent and public 2- year and 4-year colleges and universities to implement strategies on their campuses to address goals of the Governor’s “It’s On Us PA” campaign.
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.
The launch of “It’s On Us PA” built on an important dialogue sparked by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) in November 2015, which brought together educators, advocates, students, and policymakers for a screening of The Hunting Ground documentary. “The Commission for Women is proud to stand with Governor Wolf as we continue the fight to end sexual assault in Pennsylvania schools,” said Randi Teplitz, Chair of the Pennsylvania Commissions for Women.
Pennsylvanians can take the pledge on the Governor’s website here and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #ItsOnUsPA.
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