According to the #ItsOnUs Campaign, more than 11.2 percent of all students experience rape and sexual assault on campus. Female students are four times more likely to be the victims of rape or sexual assault. At Indiana University, a staggering 17 percent of female students said that they were survivors of rape or attempted rape.
As an initiative started by athletic director Fred Glass, Indiana University is no longer admitting incoming athletes with histories of sexual assault or domestic violence. The new policy bans “any prospective student-athlete, whether a transfer, incoming freshman, or otherwise, who ha[s] been convicted of or pleaded guilty to sexual violence.” Sexual violence includes dating violence, rape, or sexual assault.
“I think that this will be an important policy to help protect members of the Indiana University community,” said Glass.
Just last year, IU freshman football player Kiante Elis was dismissed within hours of his September arrest following child molestation charges. This proves that IU has acted quickly in the past in cases involving athletes and sexual misconduct. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has elected to leave decisions regarding bans up to individual institutions, though it has mandated a ban on incoming freshmen with histories of sexual violence. Glass has gone beyond the SEC’s ban by including transfers in IU’s policy.
The policy states that student-offenders “shall not be eligible for athletically-related financial aid, practice, or competition at Indiana University. Indiana University Athletics shall conduct an appropriate inquiry into every prospective student-athlete’s background consistent with the due diligence below prior to providing him/her athletically-related aid or allowing him/her to practice or compete.”
“My hope is that we’re leading in this area, and maybe others will follow with maybe not the exact same policy, but one that fits their particular institutions,” said Glass.
Sexual assault and violence is a huge issue on every college campus in the United States. Over the years, many widely publicized cases have led to nationwide disappointment due to the way they were handled. For example, in 2012, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of rape, yet went on to lead FSU to two undefeated regular seasons and a national championship in 2014. This is one of many cases of sexual assault that were swept under the rug for the sake of the success of the student and athletic departments. It is time that universities stop celebrating athletes who have been accused of rape and sexual violence.
Launched in 2014, It’s On Us works to end sexual violence by educating, engaging, and empowering students across the country. The campaign has hosted 2,000 campus events and has partnered with over 95 schools so far, which have all made public commitments to prioritize sexual assault prevention and to create a safer and more supportive environment for survivors. If you would like to pledge to commit to end sexual violence with It’s On Us, click here.
Students deserve to feel safe and supported on campus, and people like Fred Glass and the advocates of the It’s On Us campaign are doing their best to make this happen.
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