The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 2nd

Questions remain over sexual assault module effectiveness

UNC is making an effort to educate its students on sexual assault and harassment, announcing that all students must take modules on the subject — but questions remain over the modules effectiveness.  

Awareness is the key to answering all of these questions.

“Our goal here is to get information in the hands of all students and employees on campus to help them understand the types of conduct that are prohibited, the resources and support options that are available to them if they’ve experienced an incident,” said Hilary Delbridge, spokeswoman for the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office. 

With a new sexual assault policy in place at the beginning of the year, the new modules are a way for the administration to educate the entire campus. 

Administrators hope the modules operate as an education tool for the policy.

“All training is important,” said Sue Wasiolek who is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Duke University. “We’re always trying to give folks a chance to learn and expand their knowledge base.” 

The modules are one of many programs on campus, and are part of a larger program.

“This is one component of a broader more comprehensive effort,” Delbridge said.

Training programs such as Haven and One Act are also available to the campus community.

“Take time to invest in multiple avenues to reach multiple people,” said W. Scott Lewis, a partner in National Center for Higher Education Risk Management. 

Even though it is part of a bigger course of action, the role the modules plays is one of education and awareness.

“The more people that are educated the more people understand drive down events and increase accountability,” Lewis said.

The issue that policy administrators are faced with is how to educate so many in a manner that is flexible and easy to complete.

“One of the greatest challenges is how do you make the entire community aware,” Wasiolek said.

Delbridge acknowledges students and faculty are busy so flexibility of the module is key.

“Providing the training of this nature is a way to reach the large campus community with this information,” Delbridge said.

The modules are made up of sections to read, questions to answer and explanations for correct behavior.

Through scenarios, loaded questions, and instructions for what to do when problematic behavior occurs, the modules aim to educate and aware the entire community in a more general manner.

“This training is among many components of a larger effort at the University to eliminate, prevent and address the effects of sexual harassment, sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking,” says the campus-wide email by Winston Crisp, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. 

The actual effectiveness of the training will only be known in years to come after data is collected and the community responds to the action taken by the University.

“I don’t think you can prevent (sexual assualt) 100 percent,” Smith said. 

“What we can do is minimize the impact the number of instances.”

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