Joe Biden to speak at University of Miami’s “It’s on Us Rally” Against Sexual Assault

Joe Biden to speak at University of Miami’s “It’s on Us Rally” Against Sexual Assault

By Mike Piacentino

Joe Biden to speak at University of Miami’s “It’s on Us Rally” Against Sexual Assault

By Mike Piacentino
The rally aims to raise awareness around sexual assault and gender-based violence.

Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, is set to headline the University of Miami’s “It’s On Us Rally” on Tuesday, March 20 at the Watsco Center Fieldhouse - Multipurpose Space on the University’s Coral Gables campus. The rally, set to begin at 1 p.m., is open only to UM students and aims to raise awareness and create an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable. In addition to student speakers and performances, Biden will share his long legacy of ending violence against women and empower all students to take action.

Hurricane Productions, UM’s premier student-led entertainment and programming board, partnered with the University's President’s Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention and Education to host the event. Established during the summer of 2014, the coalition consists of more than 30 University faculty, administrators and student ambassadors charged with ensuring university-wide involvement, collaboration, and information sharing related to the campus climate surrounding sexual assault.

“Raising awareness about and preventing sexual assault has always been an important cause to me,” said Ronnie Johnson, It’s On Us student ambassador and a senior majoring in international finance and marketing with a second major in entrepreneurship. “UM’s student ambassador program has connected students directly to faculty and administrators on this important issue. With the right people all in the same room, real change can happen on campus and in our community.”

Since beginning his tenure as at the University in 2015, President Julio Frenk has prioritized building a culture of belonging, in which all members of the UM community feel valued and have the opportunity to make valuable contributions. In a letter to Biden, President Frenk invited the former vice president to speak on campus and highlighted the University’s transition from a decentralized approach of addressing sexual violence on campus to one that brings students, faculty, and staff together to improve the campus climate.

“Since our university sits at the crossroads of the Americas, we serve as an international platform for academics, politicians, leaders, and thought-provokers across the hemisphere. Thus, the work we do and the example we set resonates across the Americas,” said President Frenk. “Former Vice President Biden’s work against sexual harassment has inspired our university to deepen and broaden our campus programming, student services, and coalition building to address sexual misconduct. We welcome him to our community and look forward to his valuable insight as we continue working to create a culture where everyone can thrive.”

Following best practices as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, the Coalition conducts an annual campus climate survey. The survey closely mirrors the instrument Biden spearheaded to gather data for the 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study developed in partnership with the Department of Justice and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It asks students about their knowledge, opinions and experiences on subjects, including relationships, partner violence, sexual assault and the overall campus experience.

The insights gathered from this survey have allowed University leadership to make great strides in focusing its efforts on preventing sexual assaults. From its student ambassadors and peer-to-peer training programs to its myriad reporting options and readily available student support services, the University has worked to enhance collaboration between students, faculty, and staff to improve its campus climate and make a difference.

"It's On Us is thrilled to co-host the rally with Vice President Biden and the Biden Foundation at University of Miami," said Tracey Vitchers, It's On Us Director. "Since 2014, UM has been a leader in the It's On Us movement, helping to spread our message of changing campus culture through education and student organizing. The March 20th rally will be the first It's On Us rally in the state of Florida, and we're excited to be partnering with UM on this important event.

It's On Us' mission is to combat sexual assault by engaging young men and changing campus culture. It’s On Us achieves its mission by teaching bystander intervention, working on college campuses, and developing the next generation of movement leaders. Since its launch in 2014 following the recommendations from the White House Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault more than 440,000 people have taken the It’s On Us pledge to put an end to sexual assault.

Tickets are required for this event and are free. Due to the limited capacity of the venue, tickets are only available to UM students. Only one ticket per student will be given, and tickets are non-transferrable. All students will be required to present their Cane Card upon entry.

Large bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, food or drinks, video cameras or signs/banners are not allowed into the event. Cameras and cell phones are permitted.

Doors to the event open at noon, and late arrivals will not be guaranteed entry. Due to the nature of the event, attendees will be required to stand for the duration of the program. Attendees requiring accommodations should contact the Department of Student Activities & Student Organizations at 305-284-6399.

Visit miami.edu/itsonusrally for complete event details and ticket information.