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C of I students join hands against sexual assault

Every 107 seconds, an American falls victim to sexual assault. But students at The College of Idaho want people to know: “It’s on Us” to stop sexual assault and create a community of respect.

The “It’s on Us” pledge is a commitment to prevent sexual assault by recognizing that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, identifying situations in which assaults may occur, intervening in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and creating an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

After several C of I football players met with Athletic Director Mary Holly and Dean of Students Paul Bennion to discuss the issue of sexual assault on College campuses nationwide, junior wider receiver Levi Elsberry suggested the C of I join the “It’s on Us” campaign and make a video prompting students to stand up against sexual assault.

Click the player to watch the C of I “It’s on Us” video.

“We wanted (the campus community) to be more aware of things, because sexual assault is a very controversial subject,” Elsberry said. “If you have the awareness that this could happen to anybody, then you can help prevent sexual assault.”

When the idea was presented to C of I staff members, they jumped on board enthusiastically and brought the video to life. C of I student-athletes from across campus took part in the video, letting everyone know that the YoteFam community takes care of one another.

“I was pleased to hear that students were the driving force behind this idea,” said C of I President Marv Henberg. “Our students are community-minded, and they don’t just talk about an idea—they do it.”

Students hear regularly from authority figures, but the fact that the video was a student-led initiative makes the message even stronger, sophomore defensive back John Hohnhorst said.

“When someone your own age talks to you, it can grab your attention and make you think, “If this student is (talking about sexual assault prevention), maybe I should take a look at is as well.’”

The problem facing campuses is that not enough people stand up when they see something happen, Hohnhorst said. But all it takes is one bold voice to stand up for someone and prevent an assault.

“Like the campaign says, it’s on us,” Hohnhorst said. “It’s on all of us. All it takes is one person to step up and make a difference.”

To learn more about “It’s On Us” and to take the pledge, visit www.itsonus.org.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.