University of Illinois leaders speak out against sex assault



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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Big names at the University of Illinois are lending their voices to a White House-backed campaign to end sexual assaults at colleges across the country.

The latest video released this week by the school for the "It's On Us" campaign features Illinois men's basketball coach John Groce, Chancellor Phyllis Wise, professors and student leaders. Two earlier videos show athletes and sorority and fraternity leaders.

The videos had nearly 8,000 views on YouTube as of Wednesday, and the athlete-led version was played at a November football game and several men's basketball games.

Matthew Hill, a vice president in the Illinois Student Senate, told The News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1J8UNLS ) that the videos promote a dialogue about collective responsibility.

"It's the responsibility of everyone, including bystanders, to step up and do something," Hill said.

In September, President Barack Obama announced the initiative, which is also backed by the Center for American Progress. The NCAA, Big Ten and other collegiate conferences are among campaign partners.

Other schools that have released videos include Ohio State, Penn State and Northwestern universities. Nearly 200 colleges had signed on to the campaign at the time it was announced, according to the Obama administration.

Wise told The News-Gazette that getting student leaders to speak up is a good way to get others talking.

"Like all college campuses across the U.S., this is an issue of great concern to us," Wise said. "The safety of our students and, in fact, our entire campus community is a major priority."

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

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The Associated Press

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