WASHINGTON — President Obama has tried to use the power of his office to combat sexual assaults on college campuses. On Friday, he got some help.
In a speech from the East Room, the president announced “It’s on Us,” a nationwide public service campaign aimed at urging young people to do more to prevent campus sexual assaults. Mr. Obama called for a “fundamental shift in our culture” in the way women are treated and in the response to victims of sexual assault.
“From sports leagues to pop culture to politics, our society does not sufficiently value women,” Mr. Obama said. “We still don’t condemn sexual assault as loudly as we should.”
At the event, the administration debuted a 30-second video, which features celebrities including the actors Kerry Washington and Jon Hamm, the musician Questlove, and NBA star Kevin Love.
Officials said the celebrities involved would know how to get through to the millennial generation.
Mr. Love, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Olivia Munn, an actress in the HBO series “The Newsroom,” attended the announcement. Mr. Obama also put a heavy emphasis on engaging men in the conversation.
“It is not just on parents of young women to caution them, it is on the parents of young men to teach them respect for women,” Mr. Obama said. “It is on grown men to set an example and be clear about what it means to be a man.”
While Mr. Obama did not specifically mention the recent problems the N.F.L. has had with domestic violence, he did acknowledge recent instances.
“We’ve been working on campus sexual assault for several years, but the issue of violence against women is now in the news every day,” Mr. Obama said. “We’re getting a better picture of what domestic violence is all about. People are talking about it. Victims are realizing they’re not alone.”
The campaign’s name, “It’s on Us,” is intended to send the message that everyone should feel a responsibility to confront the problem of sexual assault.
Mr. Obama’s White House has been aggressively seeking to fight the growing number of sexual assaults at the nation’s colleges. In April, after a series of highly publicized rapes on college campuses, the administration released guidelines aimed at pressing universities to do more.
A task force created by the White House is promoting the effort with an advertising campaign called “1 Is 2 Many,” driving home the zero-tolerance policy. The task force has also urged colleges to conduct surveys to document the extent of the problem on their campuses.
And in May, the Department of Education released the names of 55 colleges and universities that are being investigated for their handling of sexual assault complaints. The release of the information was intended as another pressure tactic.
The president also introduced an “It’s on Us” logo on Friday. Electronic Arts, a popular video game maker, has pledged to include the logo in many of its games. There is also a campaign website: itsonus.org.
article by Michael D. Shear and Elena Schneider via nytimes.com