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Hi MIT community!

I’m Chacha and I work in the Title IX Student Working Group. From various discussions we’ve had with friends and colleagues, I thought I’d a take a minute to clarify a few things about the group, our It’s On Us, MIT campaign, and how you can get involved if you want to.

In November, over 1800 MIT community members joined us for the It’s On Us, MIT campus kick-off. You may remember us as slightly overzealous individuals handing out stickers, buttons, shirts, and bottles in Lobby 10, but as those who contributed to the more than 1,800 signatures soon learned, we stood for a whole lot more than free swag. The kick-off launched the first part of the It’s On Us, MIT campaign that the Title IX Student Working Group is organizing on campus.

You may be wondering, “What is the Title IX Student Working Group?” Good question! It is a coalition of activists, advocates, survivors, allies, friends, and student leaders (both undergraduate and graduate). We bring together our student groups’ resources in order to address problems facing this campus and hope that by sharing our collective resources and insight, we can make strides towards change. We are guided by VPR, the Title IX office, and evidence-based best practices. We also communicate with high-level MIT administrators about student efforts and attitudes.

There are many ways to combat sexual assault on campus; some involve reforming the campus disciplinary processes, while others focus on improving the support systems for survivors. In the Title IX Student Working Group, we are able to approach the issue of sexual assault from multiple angles. Our members represent student groups with a variety of interests, some of which are specifically related to sexual assault; others are more broadly concerned with student life. The It’s On Us, MIT campaign goal is to teach MIT community members about sexual assault on campus as well as to foster a campus-wide attitude which takes sexual assault seriously.

The kick-off showed that many people on campus care about preventing sexual assault. The Title IX Student Working Group is now planning educational events and workshops for the MIT community, and we look forward to creating more opportunities for continued dialogue with other passionate students and the administration. Enacting tangible change on campus requires making sexual assault something we are all actively involved in preventing. The amount of support It’s On Us has garnered is inspiring for a future where MIT institutional change can occur with the support of its student body.

In an effort to show our support, the Title IX Student Working Group created a video modeled after other It’s On Us campaigns across the country. This video, found on our website, is not the MIT video, but rather the Title IX Student Working Group’s video that defines what the pledge meant to the members of our organization. We encourage groups across campus to create their own pledge and make a video in which their members take said pledge.

The It’s On Us, MIT pledge is a list of concrete ideas that we think the whole community can take to heart, and which will inspire individuals to do what they can to help make MIT a safer community for everyone. We encourage dorms, student governments, departments, clubs, sports teams, offices, labs, and any other organization to think about what the pledge means for their own community and to share their personalized version via video. If you would like to share your video, you can send it to us at itsonusmit@gmail.com, and we will post it on the It’s On Us, MIT YouTube channel. We look forward to seeing your creative adaptations.

In the future, we hope to build a community in which students feel empowered to call a rape joke unacceptable, survivors are supported by their peers, and not being a part of the solution is considered being part of the problem. The kick-off was just the first step with many more to come, such as our Bystander Intervention workshop that was held last week. A calendar with all of our events will soon be available on our website: itsonus.mit.edu. We invite anyone who wants to work with or stay informed about the Title IX Student Working Group to please email us at itsonusmit@gmail.com.

Thank you all for your immense support,

Chacha Durazo on behalf of the TIX Student Working Group