In this 90 second video, produced by Carlos Deschamps ’16, members of the Clark Community pledge to create an environment on campus where everyone feels, and is, safe. A diverse group of students and campus leaders express their willingness to take responsibility and do something to prevent sexual violence on campus.
Clark University President David Angel is shown saying, “At Clark University, ‘It’s On Us’ to stop sexual assault.” He adds that he took the pledge, and encourages others to do the same (to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported). University Police Chief Stephen Goulet appears in the video as well, pledging his commitment.
The White House launched the “It’s On Us” campaign on Sept. 19 and received support from student leaders at 200 colleges and universities, collegiate sports organizations and private companies.
Since then, at least 10 Massachusetts’ colleges and universities have joined the national campaign; Clark and WPI are the only colleges in Greater Worcester that have created and promoted “It’s On Us” videos to date. WPI’s video is available here.
Kathleen Palm Reed, associate director of clinical training and research associate professor of psychology, advised the video project, along with a subcommittee made up of individuals from Clark’s Coordinated Community Response Team. They include Tim St. John, director of Student Leadership & Programming; Erin Dolan, therapist and wellness outreach coordinator; Meghan Reilly ’16; Maria Cerce, hall director, Residential Life & Housing; and University Police Officer Kalah LaPlante.
Professor Palm Reed said it was particularly fitting that the video was launched during the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“As we’ve always recognized the importance of bystander education as a key part of violence prevention, we embraced the opportunity to participate in this important national campaign. The ‘It’s On Us’ campaign’s call for action speaks to our community responsibility to end sexual violence,” said Palm Reed, who is also co-director of the Clark Anti-Violence Education (CAVE) program along with Denise Hines, research associate professor of psychology.
Reilly, a psychology major who minors in sociology has spent the majority of her undergraduate career researching topics of interpersonal and sexual violence among the undergraduate community. She plans to devote her honor’s thesis to this topic.
“I know someone who has been personally victimized, and stories like hers have fueled my resolve at better understanding this epidemic, educating my peers about sexual and interpersonal violence, and changing community beliefs and norms,” Reilly said.
In addition to this latest video in recent months Clark has increased its violence prevention program initiatives. In fall 2014, the University began using interactive behavioral modeling online programs with first-year students and expanded its programming for both undergraduate and graduate international students. The University also worked with several community partners to bring special programming to campus in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In a memo to the campus dated April 1, President Angel informed the campus community that, beginning with the new academic year, an expanded program of training will be mandatory for all incoming students, and that Clark will also be implementing a new training program for faculty and staff. To support this expanded programming, the University will fill a new half-time position that will be responsible for developing and implementing additional training and awareness efforts related to sexual misconduct.