Student leaders on Miami University’s campus discussed sexual assault on campus at a safety forum on Oct. 19 hosted by It’s On Us and ASG.

Last week, Miami University held “It’s On Us Week,” a social movement created to raise awareness and fight against sexual assault on college campuses.

Jackson Katz, a nationally renowned sexual violence speaker, kicked off the week with a lecture on Oct. 16 about gender violence in relation to men.

The week continued with leadership and escalation workshops and concluded on Sunday, Oct. 22 with a walk to support survivors of intimate partner violence.

“We have also all throughout the week been doing tabling in Armstrong for people to sign the pledge” said Bradley Davis, the It’s On Us campus event organizer.  “We have been giving out merchandise and just raising awareness.”

Davis said that the issues and ideas brought up in Katz’s lecture played a major role in determining the conversation at the forum.

“That’s going to be brought up a lot tonight,” Davis said before the forum. “What the takeaways were and how can we apply it in our organizations campus wide.”

Davis was one of the speakers at the forum, along with Student Body President Maggie Callaghan, Residence Hall Association president Sarah Fraley, InterFraternity Council Representative Cameron Snyders, and Panhellenic Association Vice President of Recruitment Tatiana Pavloff. They all spoke about what their student groups could do to enact change.

“The forum is mainly to highlight and focus on what student efforts are doing to combat campus assault on campus,” said Davis. “It’s more of how we as students can be more involved with tackling the issue.”

Student Body President Maggie Callaghan spoke of how important it was to have multiple groups coming together to talk about this issue.  

“I haven’t seen student leaders talk about an issue like this in a long time,” said Callaghan. “We can do a lot alone, but we can do a lot more together.”

One of the main focusses of the event was to raise the expectations of the community in regards to sexual assault.

“The bar is not set at ‘I’m not going to assault someone,’” said Snyders. “It should be at actively combating rape culture.”

Snyder further talked about the role of men in our community and their responsibility for making Miami and safer campus.

“It’s about giving the men in our community as well as the general student body the tools to feel right and empowered in every single situation,” said Snyders. “So while you might not be directly involved with something, you have the power and the knowledge and the ability to say that something is not right, and to be a part of it to make it right.”

Tatiana Pavloff discussed the importance of this issue to the Panhellenic Association, the largest women’s group on campus.

“This is such a big issue that a lot of our women are plagued with constantly,” said Pavloff. “We need to have the mindset that yeah, it does happen, and we are going to stop it”.

In regards to what can be done now, Sarah Fraley explained how the Residence Hall Association has been passing out pens and papers for people to sign, acting as a symbol as to how we are going to stand up and fight back. The group also plans to possible do a video in the spring semester.

“Hopefully tonight we will be able to highlight ways that we are trying to address the problem on our campus, and ways that people can get involved as they want,” said Davis. “Whether that be just volunteering at an event, or if they want an actual leadership role moving forward.”