Cal U takes the pledge with “It’s On Us”

James Rudolph, Opinions Editor

In the war against sexual violence and sexual assault, California University of Pennsylvania “takes the pledge” that other schools across the country have taken.

Cal U joins the statewide “It’s On Us PA” campaign, making it one of 36 other universities across the state who have embraced the campaign. The campaign aligns with the End Violence (End V) Center’s Green Dot prevention by asking the campus community to be active in taking positive steps to prevent and end sexual violence and assault on college campuses.

“Everyone does his/her part to maintain a safe campus,” said Nancy Skobel, the director of the Women’s Center at Cal U. She says the primary goals of the campaign: to ensure that power based personal violence (sexual assault, dating violence, stalking) will not be tolerated at Cal U, and have the entire campus community raise awareness and actively combat sexual violence and sexual assault.

After receiving a $300,000 state grant, the End Violence center wishes to add to the momentum of the national “It’s On Us” movement. “It’s On Us PA brings together college and university presidents, administrators, faculty, staff, students, families, and community members to reframe the conversation around sexual violence and pledge to be part of the solution,” Skobel said. The money for the grant was allocated from this year’s state budget.

The program has three points that will “lay the foundation to change the Cal’s culture,” Skobel explained.

The first point is to increase awareness and provide training for comprehensive, evidence based primary prevention strategy, such as the Green Dot intervention model. This bystander intervention initiative, backed by supporting evidence, works off the belief that individual safety is a community responsibility, and a critical mass of individuals must be willing to change behaviors. 30 faculty, staff, and students were certified with this funding, and will be providing training to staff, administrators, and faculty over the summer.

The second point is to provide training to improve investigations through FETI (Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview). FETI helps investigators and interviewers understand how victims experienced their assaults and remember them. This is intended to reduce the inaccuracy of information a victim may provide, and greatly enhances the understanding of the traumatized person’s experience.

Reducing barriers for reporting, improving institution response and improving the data collection and reporting capacity of assaults is the third point in the “It’s On Us” campaign. “A case management system is being developed to share information and resources expeditiously,” said Skobel.

The program is designed to raise awareness to the whole student body and encourage positive actions to combat sexual violence and assault wherever you are. As much as the school can do, it truly falls on us, as students and members of the community, to take the active role. Find out what you can do by visiting the Women’s Center, and “Take the Pledge” by visiting