Letter to the editor:
The epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses is now the subject of national attention. The Ohio State University community — its students, faculty and staff alike — has responded to this problem in a remarkable way. The student-led “It’s On Us” campaign empowers students “not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution.” We’re still learning as Buckeyes about how we can be part of the solution. Our collaboration represented by this letter is a first step in that direction.
We as student leaders recognize the truly ground-breaking initiatives at OSU in the existing university response to sexual assault. Countless partners from the Office of Student Life and elsewhere share our passion for preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors, and several have devoted their careers to paving the way toward an exemplary response to this issue.
With already-expanding prevention and awareness programs on our campus, and the growing “It’s On Us” campaign, we expect student demand for more comprehensive Sexual Violence Education and Support to increase markedly. As students who wish to be part of the solution, we believe that our response to this increased demand has become a new priority. It’s on us to create a culture where sexual assault is unacceptable, and survivors are supported.
After studying the critically acclaimed response of other institutions to this problem, as well as solutions from our campus, we propose several ideas to even better educate students about sexual violence and to provide survivors and allies with the support they need.
In short, we support the following solutions:
An enhanced student response to sexual assault, with the recognition that “It’s On Us” to protect our peers. We have claimed responsibility as student leaders to educate our peers and create a culture, within our student organizations, to intervene and prevent sexual assault.
Increased primary prevention measures to address sexual assault, including the addition of consent training into university survey courses, and comprehensive training for all residence hall staff at OSU. We wish to arm students with the information needed to protect peers from sexual violence.
Increased secondary prevention measures, with a unified, centralized approach to providing student support and education from a comprehensive Center for Sexual Violence Education and Support. Such a center, modeled after similar structures at peer institutions, would welcome survivors, facilitate seamless referrals, provide long-term follow-up, and meet increased demand with additional support staff. A center would build upon OSU’s SVES-established, evidence-based practices, enabling OSU to guide peer institutions in our response to sexual assault. We can and will be part of a nationwide solution to advance the field of sexual violence education and support.
We’re grateful for the guidance and support of partners from the university and in the Office of Student Life, both in preceding work on this issue and in future efforts to prevent sexual assault and support survivors. Thank you for enabling us, as student leaders, to support our peers and to look out for one another.
Celia Wright — President, Undergraduate Student Government
Isaac Oyer — President, Block O
Matt Kolena — President, Ohio Union Activities Board
Hannah McNamara — President, Student Alumni Council
Michael Golden — Vice President, Black Student Association
Lisa Barrett — President, Pan-Hellenic Association
Thomas Young — President, Inter-Fraternity Council
Patricia Castillo — President, Multi-Cultural Greek Council
Natalie Davis — President, Multi-Partisan Coalition
Jimmy Alford — President, College Democrats
Sam Zuidema — President, College Republicans
Kristin Bruggeman — President, Ohio Stater’s Inc.
Kara Spada — Vice President, UNA Campus Advocates
Jenna Greve — Co-President, SEE US