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The Daily Wildcat


UA moves from It’s On Us and embraces I Will campaign

Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat Signs made by concerned students are displayed during a protest against rape culture and a recently published column by the Daily Wildcat on the UA mall on Thursday, Sept. 11.

ASUA is starting a new campaign against sexual assault that will debut this spring called “I Will.”

According to the Association of American Universities’ Campus Climate Survey, which looked at sexual assault and misconduct at 27 universities across the U.S., 13 percent of survey respondents at the UA have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct since they first enrolled. In order to lower those numbers, the UA has been working on programs to raise awareness of campus sexual assault.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona partnered with national organization It’s On Us last year to raise awareness of sexual assault. This partnership included one event on the UA Mall with free giveaways while students took a pledge against sexual assault.

This year, however, ASUA is no longer working with It’s On Us and is instead implementing the new program, I Will, which differs from It’s On Us.

While It’s On Us is a national organization, I Will is student led, created from a proposal by ASUA Sen. Matthew Lubisich. Another difference is how students are involved.

“It’s On Us really doesn’t include the entire campus. Sometimes it targets Greek Life and how [sexual assault] happens in Greek Life, but my goal is to get everyone involved in the conversation,” Lubisich said.

In order to fulfill that goal, Lubisich has been working with other organizations on campus to collaborate on the program. These organizations include Wildcat Events Board, SafeRide, the Women’s Resource Center, Freshman Class Council, F.O.R.C.E., LGBTQ Affairs, The Men’s Project, Campus Health Service and Students Promoting Empowerment And Consent.

Some of these organizations have already been working on their own programs to combat sexual assault, such as SPEAC. The club holds workshops throughout the year on varying topics, like what constitutes a healthy relationship.

“So far I’ve only been to a couple tabling events where we spoke to students about resources if they ever were in that situation,” said Alyssa Contreras, a first-year SPEAC intern.

SPEAC and other organizations partnered with the I Will campaign can become even more involved in raising awareness about sexual assault.

“We are going to come together and have bi-weekly meetings, and we are going to collaborate to create programs that make people aware about sexual assault on campus,” Lubisich said. “If we all collaborate together, more students will know.”

ASUA is planning to have a week-long lineup of programs in the spring that will end with a resource fair on the UA Mall, where organizations will discuss their involvement in sexual assault awareness.

This event will be the culmination of Lubisich’s efforts. Last year, he ran for the senate on a platform of increasing sexual assault awareness, and he has worked on the I Will program since August.

Lubisich said he was inspired for the idea of the I Will campaign after watching a video about the University of Michigan’s I Will program against sexual assault. Lubisich said he plans to make a video for the UA’s I Will program, too.

“They made this amazing video, and that’s what we are going to benchmark off of in terms of this campaign’s video,” Lubisich said. “Then [we will] add our programming just to make it a very nice week-long and very impactful event.”

Lubisich wants to have the UA’s I Will video played at freshman orientations and Bear Down Camp in the future. For now, his focus is on making the I Will week happen.

After the initial creation of the program, Lubisich said he plans on having the event in the fall, as well.

“We are trying to get this groundwork to make this week, and then that’s going to set up the foundation for yearlong events and to have this week continue throughout the years to come,” he said.

The I Will week will take place from Feb. 1 to Feb. 5.

Follow Ava Garcia on Twitter.

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