THUMBS UP to a Colby College senior who is helping in a creative way to combat the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

Jonathan Kalin, 22, started the “Party with Consent” movement in 2012, and it now has spread to 30 campuses across the country. He has sold more than 5,000 shirts bearing the slogan and has been invited to write about the topic for Time magazine.

Kalin also organizes parties promoting the themes of consent, respect and responsibility, with the particular target of male students.

A recent report by the White House said that one in five women is sexually assaulted in college. Fifty-five colleges are under investigation for their handling of sexual assault allegations.

Some high-profile cases have helped draw attention to the culture of cover-up, silence and shaming that can hinder justice in cases of sexual assault.

In 2010, for example, Lizzy Seeberg, a freshman at St. Mary’s College in Indiana, was sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame football player. There was a mass effort to intimidate her not to speak, the police dragged their feet, and charges were never brought. She later committed suicide.

Thousands of other victims are met with similar resistance. And there is a prevalent sense of masculine entitlement that fuels these assaults and then places the blame elsewhere, particularly in a college party atmosphere.

Initiatives such as Party with Consent are a good way to talk openly about the issue, and erase the negative culture that normalizes sexual assault.

THUMBS UP to the U.S. House Budget Committee for rescinding an invitation to Gary Alexander to testify as part of Tuesday’s panel on the “War on Poverty.”

Alexander is the former public welfare chief in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island whose $925,000 report on the Maine welfare system, completed through a no-bid contract handed out by Gov. Paul LePage, is marked by inaccuracies, shoddy conclusions and outright plagiarism.

The committee, led by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is holding the session to gauge the effectiveness of the government programs sprung from former President Lyndon Johnson’s signature domestic policy effort.

We are skeptical about Ryan’s campaign to cut down on the government programs he underestimates by saying they trap people in poverty rather than help them transcend it.

But at least he won’t be hearing from Alexander, whose focus seems to be solely on cutting costs, not helping people.

And finally …

THUMBS UP to the men who 70 years ago today braved unspeakable conditions to retake Western Europe in the D-Day invasion, providing the foothold, at great cost of human life, that was necessary to defeat Nazi Germany.

The invasion of June 6, 1944, remains unprecedented — 156,000 Allied troops and 7,000 vessels moving toward the Normandy coast at the break of dawn, backed by massive air power.

They faced heavy seas and a dug-in, well-armed German army that knew it was fighting for its own existence.

Walter Wheeler, of Kittery, was an 18-year-old just off the French shore that day, manning a .50-caliber machine gun firing at Nazi targets.

“The sky was black and gray with bomb bursts,” Wheeler told the Portland Press Herald in 2010. “Mostly, you just kept firing. Hot brass 3-inch shells would spit out of the guns all over you, but you kept firing. The sky was dark with black bits of metal falling out of it on you, but you kept firing. Sometimes you couldn’t hear anything, but you kept firing.”

Almo Nickerson, of Hallowell, landed at Utah Beach that day.

“I was just 22 years old, and coming from a small town in Maine, we were all apprehensive of what lay ahead for us,” Nickerson told the Kennebec Journal in 2004. “I remember the first thing was that I wanted to get out of the water and on to land as soon as possible. We were well trained and we all had a lot of confidence, but we were all scared.”

Wheeler and Nickerson survived. Many did not. Today, we remember them all.

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