Federal authorities are increasing their investigations of sexual assaults on campuses in Indiana and across the country. That’s a good thing, because one in five women and one in 16 men have reported being sexually assaulted while in college.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will be in Indianapolis Friday to kick off a three-day conversation with fraternity and sorority leaders from across the country about ending sexual assault on college campuses.
Biden has emphasized the importance of combating campus sexual assault since helping found the It’s On Us campaign to challenge college campuses to step up and make a pledge to end sexual violence on campus. He famously wrote a moving letter to the survivor of a high-profile sexual assault on the Stanford campus in 2016.
Biden will serve as the keynote speaker during the first full day of the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values’ Central Conference. The event, held in Indianapolis for the fifth year in a row, brings together several thousand fraternity and sorority leaders from campuses across the country.
“Everyone has a moral obligation to step up and show leadership in working to end sexual violence—especially men,” Biden said in a news release. “This obligation doesn’t start and end at a college party or in the workplace. It is founded on the fundamental need to change the culture that allows sexual assault to exist.”
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It’s On Us works particularly to engage young men on the issue of campus sexual assault and how they, too, can work to combat it.
“We were founded back in 2014 by President Obama and Vice President Biden with a purpose of combating campus sexual assault by getting young men involved and changing campus culture,” said Tracey Vitchers, executive director of It’s On Us.
Last year, It’s On Us created a new Greek Leadership Council with a dozen Greek organizations, including AFLV.
Ending campus sexual assault will be a central focus of this year’s AFLV Central Conference, which also includes educational offerings on a wide-array of topics like leadership development and the prevention of high-risk behaviors. In addition to Biden, attendees will hear from other high-profile speakers such as Jess Ekstrom from CAMPUSPEAK, WWE superstar Titus O’Neil and President of Rock the Vote, Carolyn DeWitt.
“We want fraternities and sororities to be leaders on this issue,” said Ryan O’Rourke, executive director of AFLV.
The AFLV conference will run out of the JW Marriott downtown Friday through Sunday.
Biden is also expected to take part in a campaign fundraiser for Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indianapolis on Friday.
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Call IndyStar education reporter Arika Herron at (317) 444-6077. Follow her on Twitter: @ArikaHerron.
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