Combating sexual attacks on Obama’s to-do list

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
By Reubin Turner
Assistant City Editor

Sexual assault is another issue President Barack Obama has added to the growing list of problems plaguing colleges across the nation.

Senior White House officials and Generation Progress held a press conference Monday to discuss and answer questions about “It’s On Us,” a new campaign designed to target sexual assault on college campuses nationwide.

Obama launched the campaign Friday, alongside Vice President Joe Biden and Generation Progress which according to their website, is a an organization that works with youth to develop solutions to key social and political issues.

“Strengthening already existing programs is the primary focus, since many colleges already have them in place,” said Lynn Rosenthal, the senior adviser to the White House on Violence Against Women.

In an effort to promote campus education and awareness about the issue, Rosenthal said the Department of Justice has given $18 million to six colleges with sexual assault education programs.

The list of schools that have committed to the campaign include Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Austin.

To date, Baylor has not officially committed to joining the campaign against sexual assault.

Arlington senior Dominic Edwards, student body president, said although he could not speak on behalf of the university, he personally did not have enough information on the campaign to endorse it.

He also said while he is committed to promoting the welfare of the student body, he is not seeking to emphasize one aspect of campus safety.

Tina Tchen, chief of staff to the first lady and assistant to the president, said over 200 million viewers have seen the public service announcement, and 37,000 have signed the pledge since the campaign’s launch.

“This is considered a terrific launch,” Tchen said.

Rosenthal said many of the partners for the initiative are partners the younger generation can identify with.

Johnson said television moguls like MTV and VH1 have teamed up with them and are set to promote the cause through social media and commercial airtime.

The campaign comes from a task force created this past January to protect students from sexual assault.

According to the report released by the task force in April, it is estimated that one in five women will be assaulted during her college years.

Tchen said it is her hope that many facets of campus life such as the Greek community and student organizations can combine to tackle this issue.

“Overall we hope everyone will set a tone and take ownership of leadership,” said Tchen.

Anyone wanting more information about the initiative can visit, or for resources on responding to, and preventing campus sexual assault.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.