OAKLAND (KDKA) – Vice President Joe Biden was in Oakland today to talk about sexual assaults on college campuses.
Biden spoke at the University of Pittsburgh about the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign. The initiative started back in 2014 and is aimed at putting an end to sexual assaults on college campuses.READ MORE: State Police Looking For Missing 5-Year-Old Lenny Hatinda In Indiana County
The “It’s On Us” Week of Action runs through April 9. During the week, students on college campuses around the country host events to support survivors of campus sexual assaults and to help prevent future assaults.
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Around 2,000 tickets were made available to hear Biden speak today. Roughly two-thirds of the crowd was made up of college students. Many said preventing campus sexual assaults is an important issue and one that needs continued discussion.
Shortly after 6 a.m., the line started to form outside the Petersen Events Center. Even though tickets had been issued last week, some wanted to get there early to secure their spot.
“It’s good that we have the vice president standing beside everyone that’s experienced it and that wants to stand against it together,” Stephen Kandrack said. “I think sexual assault is definitely an important topic to discuss on campus. It’s maybe something that hasn’t been discussed enough,”
Students were offered tickets first, ahead of staff faculty and the general public and they showed in great numbers.
“I think having such an important person like Joe Biden speak about it is something that’s integral to fixing the issue,” Kaley Hayes said. “I know people who have been personally affected by sexual assault on college campuses. It’s pervasive and something we need to openly talk about.”
“We think it’s incredibly important for both men and women to be engaged with what’s happening with student life and make sure that this is a community that is safe for all of us,” Morgan Overton said.
Some applauded what the University of Pittsburgh has done on campus to create a safer atmosphere.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Board Approves Health And Safety Plan
“Pitt’s campus is so active with this. We have the Panther WELL, which do a program called Sex in the Lounge, which promotes safe sex and what is safe sex and how can you protect yourself,” Margaret Mallonee said.
Others still feel there’s work to be done.
“It’s difficult, but changing the culture to discussing sexual assault, being more open about how we talk about it. There’s quite a stigma when talking about it,” Troy Albrecht said.
Before making his way to Pitt, Biden stopped by Pamela’s in the Strip District.
— Ian Smith (@ismithKDKA) April 5, 2016
More than 200 universities are involved in the “It’s On Us” campaign. Students can sign pledges at the schools to help prevent sexual assaults.
After today’s visit at the University of Pittsburgh, Vice President Biden is expected to speak about the same program at the University of Nevada and the University of Colorado.
Biden’s last visit to Pittsburgh was back in September for the annual Labor Day Parade.MORE NEWS: Contour Airlines Announces Service Out Of Pittsburgh International Airport