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March 30, 2017

Sexual assault awareness events set



Hundreds of T-shirts decorated by Pitt students, faculty and staff will be on display April 13 as sexual assault awareness month events conclude on the Pittsburgh campus.

The creations are a tangible display of support for Pitt’s part in the It’s on Us movement (, a national campaign to eradicate sexual assault and harassment on college campuses.

The It’s on Us T-shirt project has provided a creative outlet for allies as well as for those who are survivors of rape or sexual assault. Some designs focus on issues such as consent, others aim to raise awareness of the frequency of sexual assaults on college campuses. Others depict individuals’ own experiences with non-consensual actions or assault, said Alia Gehr-Seloover who, with fellow Student Health graduate assistant Greg Valdisera, coordinates Pitt’s It’s on Us campaign.

Throughout the year, members of the Pitt community have gathered in the Center for Creativity, residence halls, departmental offices and other venues to decorate shirts. The sessions foster conversation and sharing, all while raising awareness of the resources available on and near campus.

Kristy Rzepecki, senior Title IX and diversity specialist in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, noted that conversations shared in those forums are not subject to reporting.

A final T-shirt project drop-in session is set for 2:30-4 p.m. today, March 30, in the Center for Creativity on the lower level of the University Store on Fifth. Pitt ID is required.

It’s on Us task force members also will facilitate T-shirt project events for campus groups; or individuals can arrange with organizers to decorate a shirt in the Student Health Service office during business hours. (Contact the coordinators at and for details.)


The It’s on Us unveiling event is set for 1-5 p.m. April 13 on the William Pitt Union patio and lawn (in the Assembly Room in case of inclement weather).

City of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Pam Connelly, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, will speak.

In addition to the T-shirt display and musical performances, campus and community organizations will provide activities 1-4 p.m.

Displays will include information for faculty and staff on their role in reporting under Title IX, as well as on how to access resources themselves, Valdisera said.

Signatures can be added to a quilt that will hang in the Student Health Center and Pitt’s It’s on Us paper chain (March 3, 2016, University Times) will be on display.

Those who have decorated a T-shirt will be able to collect their shirt after 4 p.m.

The event will conclude with a march around the Fifth-Forbes Avenue block outside the Union.

Additional details will be posted at


Faculty and staff are welcomed, Rzepecki said. “Seeing familiar faces can be encouraging if something should happen,” she said, adding that students may feel safer disclosing harassment or assault to someone they recognize as a supporter from such events.


Related sexual assault awareness month events include:

• “Queering Religion,” a panel discussion on the intersection of religiosity and queer identity, sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies. The event is set for 6 p.m. today, March 30, in the Humanities Center, 602A Cathedral of Learning.

• “Talk Dirty to Me,” a discussion of conversations on consent, sponsored by Students Engaging in Conversations about Consent and Sexuality and Sexual Assault Facilitation & Education. The event is set for 7 p.m. April 4 in 548 William Pitt Union.

• A candlelight vigil in support of sexual assault survivors, coordinated by the Office of Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education and the Title IX office, is set for 7-8:30 p.m. April 6 on the Cathedral lawn.


For help or to report an incident of sexual harassment or assault, visit


—Kimberly K. Barlow     



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