- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - Indiana State University has launched a sexual violence prevention and education initiative before fall classes begin next week.

The effort, announced Thursday and called “It’s On Blue,” will involve a variety of prevention programs and training over the upcoming school year, including mandatory online training for undergraduates and university employees to be completed by Sept. 30, as well as active bystander training.

“It’s about creating a campus climate and culture of care, safety and support,” said Aimee Janssen-Robinson, the university’s director of equal opportunity and Title IX coordinator. “We’re making sure we have a campus where students feel safe and supported … and they also feel supported reporting if an incident occurs.”

The initiative is in response to the federal Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, which is part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, the Tribune-Star (http://bit.ly/1PcQUrf ) reported. The legislation requires colleges and universities to take steps in preventing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

In June, Indiana State University trustees adopted a policy requiring participation in mandatory training and prevention.

“It’s a big step for the university, but one that is warranted with what is going on across the country,” Janssen-Robinson said.

The school’s board of trustees wanted the initiative to focus on prevention and education, according to Katie Butwin, Indiana State University general counsel. Although the goal is to reduce incidents involving sexual violence, increased awareness could encourage victims or witnesses to come forward, leading to more reports.

Indiana State University’s intent is to “make sure we have a campus community that will step in; if people see something, they will say something. They will make that report or better yet, intervene in a situation” to stop these incidents from occurring, Butwin said.

The university’s website now includes an “It’s on Blue” page that provides information about sexual violence and lists both on-campus and off-campus resources.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com

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