Sexual assault is one of the most horrifying issues facing college students today. The statistics are shocking, and I won’t waste time repeating them because at this point they’ve all been burned into our brains.
Students at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) were fed up with hearing about the devastating effects of sexual assault on their campus and did something about it. Who better to lead such a powerful movement than Greeks? UT Greek students Edwin Qian of Pi Kappa Phi, William Herbst of Phi Delta Theta and Ellen Cocanougher of Alpha Chi Omega started a movement called Not On My Campus to end sexual assault throughout their campus community. They drafted a pledge online, which can be signed here, aiming to “end the silence surrounding sexual assault.” The pledge also states:
We are connected by our passion for UT and our desire to make a difference within our campus community and throughout the world. We have experienced, either directly or indirectly, the devastating effects of sexual assault on our campus. It is time to take responsibility for our student culture. We need to end the silence around sexual assault and engage fellow Longhorns in conversations about our collective and personal responsibility to prevent sexual assault. Sexual assault is any sexual activity without consent. UT gets consent.
After only three days, the pledge already has 1,140 signatures and is rapidly growing.
Anyone who signs the pledge is also encouraged to show their support for the movement by writing “Not On My Campus” on their hand and posting it to social media. The movement has gained massive momentum in such a short amount time and has been endorsed by almost every fraternity and sorority on campus, and even the president of the university, Bill Powers.
Loving the support from Texas Tri Delta!! #Repost @texas_tridelta Texas Tri Delta showed their support for #notonmycampus at meeting today to bring awareness to sexual abuse at UT! We encourage others to join the campaign, and appreciate @texaspanhellenic for bringing this movement to our attention!
I reached out to cofounder of this movement, Ellen Cocanougher, and was pleased to learn that Not On My Campus has already seen a positive impact from their campaign. “It has only been three days since we have launched this campaign and I have already been approached by multiple survivors who have told me that they do not feel alone anymore. They have told me that they feel comfortable talking about their personal experiences with sexual assault and that Not On My Campus is having a positive impact on their life,” said Cocanougher.
Although the movement started at UT, the founders of Not On My Campus don’t want it to end there.
“We would love to encourage students at other Universities to start a movement to end sexual assault on their own campuses, because this is an issue that affects all of us, either directly or indirectly,” said Cocanougher.
It’s been a hard month for Greeks, with the recent Sigma Chi scandal and the outcry for the abolishment of the Greek system, but it’s things like this that make us remember what it’s all about. Helping people, being the voice for an important cause, and making a difference in not only the Greek community, but everywhere. It’s up to us to lead by example and take a stand against sexual assault on our own campuses. .
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