When it comes to sexual assault on campus, Occidental students and coaches are saying “No More ‘What’s the big deal?'” “No More ‘Not my problem,'” and “Here at Oxy we will not look the other way.”
The Department of Athletics and Project S.A.F.E. recently released a minute-long video featuring an array of coaches, student-athletes and students representing different areas of campus life. But they were not talking about athletics or sports; instead they tackled the topic of domestic violence and sexual assault.
According to Assistant Athletic Director Michael Wells, it is necessary for conversations to take place on an issue, because change cannot take place without people speaking about it first.
“Part of the issue with—in my opinion—with sexual assault and domestic violence is that we do need to start talking about it,” Wells said. “And this was one way we can help make that conversation a little easier.”
This latest video is part of a larger national effort called the No More Campaign, which aims to raise awareness and spur conversation on the topic of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The idea to create the video came from Director of Athletics Jamie Hoffman, according to Wells.
“She has been excellent about saying this is not who our student athletes are, this is not who our athletic department is, so we need to speak out, we need to say something,” Wells said. “Let’s give our wonderful community an opportunity and a platform to do and say what they feel.”
This video follows the You Can Play at Occidental video that was released by the Department of Athletics at the end of last school year in May. That video supported You Can Play national campaign, which aims to foster an atmosphere of inclusion on sports teams.
Hoffman said the message of these videos is something that everyone can get behind.
“The more we can continue to message our commitment to stopping the behaviors and acknowledging ‘it’s on us,’ we will ensure that sexual assault and relationship violence is not last year’s issue,” Hoffman said via email. “Our students have spoken, the administration has stepped up and anything our department can do to help raise awareness and show our commitment, we are willing.”
For the No More video, Project S.A.F.E. offered to lend a hand and get more people from all over campus involved.
“When Athletics took the initiative in developing the creation of the video we wanted to be part of the process in reaching out to several students and other community members,” Occidental College Project S.A.F.E Manager and Survivor Advocate Naddia Palacios said via email.
Members of the Greek system and cultural clubs like La Raza Coalition, the Asian Pacific Americans for Liberation and the Black Student Alliance were represented in the video, alongside student athletes. Palacios said she wanted to see more areas of campus taking a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault.
Alida Beck (senior), a captain of the Occidental Women’s lacrosse team and a Project S.A.F.E. programming assistant, said that having these videos is an effective way to spread the word because it links many students to campus leaders who are involved in the campaign.
Beck also noted that the release of this video was bolstered by the release of a No More commercial which aired during the Super Bowl this year.
“I think it was powerful that [the videos] coincided so that people could look at the general campaign and look at the specific video,” Beck said.
The athletic department and Project S.A.F.E. are currently working on another video centered around the campaign “It’s On Us.” This campaign, initiated in Sept. 2014 by President Barack Obama, is a call for an end to sexual violence on college campuses.