This week, the University of California-Berkeley stated that 500 freshmen face holds on their spring registration for failing to comply with their sexual harassment training requirements, reported CNN.
In January, the Obama administration initiated a task force dedicated to preventing sexual violence at universities. On Friday, the White House unveiled a new public awareness and education campaign called “It’s On Us,” which engages students and colleges to take active roles in preventing sexual assault on campus.
Evidently, some of the Universities are having difficulty devising compliant training programs. Clemson University pulled a mandatory online course on sexual violence prevention after a hostile response from the school community saying that it asked students and teachers about their sexual activity and alcohol consumption.
The course fulfilled a “Title IX training” requirement offered by the South Carolina public university. Some of the questions proved to be an obvious infringement on individual privacy: “How many times have you had sex?” and “With how many different people have you had sex?”
Machaella Reisman, a junior at Clemson, admits that she favors the University offering a class to prevent sexual violence. However, it should be able to do it without asking intrusive questions. “This is not information that I discuss with my friends, let alone information I feel the need to disclose to the school or whoever the third-party source may be,” she told CNN in an email.
The 20-year-old student expressed further disdain for the line of questioning: “As a questionnaire that is supposed to serve the purpose of educating students on gender equality to prevent sexual violence, why should there be questions regarding how much sex a student has had and if they used drugs, alcohol, or a condom?”
Reisman complained that she had to use her name and student ID number to register for the online course. However, Clemson promises that the responses were “captured anonymously” and would not be identifiable by the school or Campus Clarity, the vendor that created the module.
Shannon Finning, dean of students and associate vice president for Student Affairs, contends that “At the conclusion, we would gather it in aggregate and it would give us a better picture of campus culture and give us an opportunity to identify additional educational and training needs.”