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Acacia fraternity spreads awareness about sexual assault

Simren Shah

Associate Features Editor

Fraternities generally have a negative reputation when it comes to sexual assault. The students in Millersville’s Acacia fraternity have taken it upon themselves to spread awareness about the importance of consent through a campaign called “It’s on us.” Dylan Hyer is the head of the campaign and provided a lot of insight to its relevance.

The “It’s on us” campaign began nationwide in 2014 under the Obama and Biden administration. It appeared at Millersville University two years later. Its purpose was to hold students responsible for the safety of their community members. Each semester a “week of action” is held during which advocacy and awareness of sexual assault is a main focus. There is a pledge that students sign each year promising to stand against sexual assault. Hyer revealed that sexual assault resonates with him because, “I do have many friends and family members that were unfortunately sexually assaulted, so that’s why I decided to not only be in charge of the whole thing, but I think it’s important that we all know things to do in certain situations to help people out.”

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Hyer applies the campaign to his daily life by stepping in when people make sexually derogatory comments in class. He provided an example in which he overheard a classmate bragging about having sex with an inebriated girl at a party. Hyer was quick to step in by telling his classmate, “That’s obviously not cool. Do you understand that what you’re doing is rape?” Hyer stressed, “it’s important that we show the positive things about fraternity life.”

There have been instances where people have approached Hyer in social settings asking for help. Once, a young woman asked how she could get help because she had been sexually assaulted over the weekend. She became uncomfortable while kissing a guy and wanted him to stop, but he took things too far. The resources available to survivors on campus include the Title IX office, Health Services, and counseling services located in Lyle Hall. Hyer listed Chief Anders from MUPD as a good person to talk to for anyone who wants to report sexual assault.

When asked to define consent, Hyer responded, “first of all it has to be voluntary and freely given and understood by both parties.” He explained that it can be verbal or non-verbal. Hyer stated, “consent can be taken away at any time.” “It’s on us” does not condone assumption of consent based on current or previous relationships. Intoxication can complicate consent. Hyer’s solution is to “just make sure you’re on the same page.” He stressed that “a person who is too drunk to function cannot give consent.”

“It’s on us” is trying to become a separate group on campus. The organization accepts all the support it can get. If anyone would like to become involved in the campaign, Dylan Hyer can be contacted at djhyer@millersville.edu.