Biden Tells U of I Students ‘It’s On You’ To Prevent Sexual Assault

April 23, 2015
photo of vice president Joe Biden at the University of Illinois

Vice President Joe Biden speaking on the campus of the University of Illinois. His visit was part of the White House's "It's On Us" campaign to end sexual violence.

Photo @VP on Twitter

Vice President Joe Biden told students on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus today that they have a responsibility to act to prevent sexual assault.

A crowd of several hundred cheered for the Vice President in the gym of one of the campus' recreation centers.  But the tone shifted as Biden voiced anger at those who commit sexual assault.

"Raping someone who's passed out, when there's even a discussion whether that's a crime--it is outrageous," he said.  "What kind of man does it take to do that? What kind of society?"

Biden says he chose the University of Illinois because of the work the school is doing for victims of sexual assault.

The U of I has recently beefed up its sexual assault awareness programming along with an increase in services for victims.

Some of that came after the University paid a $77-thousand settlement to a former student who says school officials mishandled her assault complaint in 2011.

More than 100 colleges and universities are currently under federal Title IX investigation in connection with sexual assault cases.

Biden used an emotional, almost evangelical tone to urge about 1,500 students to "show courage."

"By the way gentlemen, silence is a form of approval. Inaction is a form of cowardice," he said. "Speaking up takes courage." 

The White House says Biden’s highlighting the "It's on Us" campaign President Obama kicked off last year. 

The president's prevention initiative began as sexual assaults on college campuses became a frequent topic of news coverage.

Story source: AP