Biden in CO for sex assault speech, Bennet event

Posted at 6:29 AM, Apr 08, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Colorado Friday as part of a White House initiative to prevent campus sexual assaults.

Biden will speak at the University of Colorado in Boulder as part of the It’s On Us campaign. It urges students to pledge to intervene to stop assaults and promote an environment where assaults are unacceptable.

The University of Colorado is one of more than 100 schools being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education for their handling of sexual assault complaints. The probe began more than two years ago.

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Biden will speak at 2:30 at the Student Recreation Center Lower Gymnasium. Drivers in Boulder should be aware of traffic impacts until the event ends.

At a similar rally on Thursday, Biden counted superstar singer Lady Gaga among the bravest survivors he knows for her role in raising awareness about sexual assault on college campuses.

The seemingly odd couple appeared at a rally in Las Vegas before hundreds of college students and community members.

"Imagine the courage it takes for her to speak out and then imagine the courage it takes for her to sing a song, 'Til It Happens to You,' that is branded in her heart," Biden said as he introduced the singer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' Cox Pavilion.

Lady Gaga, who has talked openly about being sexually assaulted when she was 19, performed the Oscar-nominated song at a black piano next to a large American flag. Afterward, she called it her greatest honor to be at the event to support the cause.

"What I've learned is that the most powerful form of feeling is compassion, so if you can simply be a friend to someone and truly listen, truly lend your ear, even if it's hard or you don't understand," she said. "You will be fulfilling the sense of loneliness that has stayed with me ever since the day I was abused."

Gaga will not attend the Colorado rally.

Biden spoke for 40 minutes about the "sick cultural norm" of sexual assault, including stigma and passive attitudes and asked the crowd to pledge to be an active voice in incidents they witness or know about.

In addition to a half-dozen rallies over the past year at college campuses, the vice president also recently spoke about the issue at a NCAA men's basketball tournament game.

Domestic violence prevention has been a signature issue for Biden since he championed the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate in 1994.

After the event at CU-Boulder, Biden will attend a fundraising event for Senator Michael Bennet.