University institutes mandatory sexual violence training


Rachel Yim

The mandatory sexual violence training home screen.

At the foundation of positive student experience is a healthy and safe learning environment. In modern days, however, where sexual violence has been one of the predominant issues especially in colleges, the safety of students is not guaranteed.

In an effort to maintain a safe and aware campus community, Oakland University has implemented a mandatory sexual violence prevention training for all students.

“We aim to remain in compliance with federal and state laws that we train and educate all Oakland University students on sexual violence, sexual misconduct and violence against women [on annual basis],” Jessie Hurse, associate Dean of Students, said.

According to a survey by the Association of American Universities (AAU), one in eight college students has experienced nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force or inability to consent. For undergraduate women, it was much higher: one in three students. Furthermore, 42% of students have experienced at least one sexually harassing behavior since enrollment.

While these numbers are shocking, the reality of ensuring a student’s legal rights is incredibly difficult. When students should feel that their campus is a safe environment to grow academically, emotionally and socially, one in four students reported that sexual assault or misconduct is extremely problematic at their institutions.

Hurse said there has been a high increase in sexual violence cases at the beginning of the academic year when majority of the students meet each other for the first time. Implementation annual mandatory sexual violence training is expected to bring awareness to the community members and encourage more students to take part in the issue.

Many current OU students believe that this training will bring this topic to many people’s attention. At the same time, however, they also think that the universities should advertise and spread words more about how students can receive support when needed. 

“I feel fairly safe on campus in general, which is a privilege that I recognize and appreciate a lot,” junior Fateha Zakaria said. “I think it’s a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot more that needs to be done in order to fully eradicate sexual violence especially when it comes to holding abusers fully accountable for the crimes they’ve committed.”

“As the dean of the students’ office and a deputy coordinator, I recognize that instances of sexual misconduct are not widely reported,” Hurse said. “In this case, what we need more than anything is a community that is devoted to ensuring safety and well-being of every single member of this community.” 

He also emphasized that taking part in this training module can really help to ensure that members of this community are working on one core to curve sexual violence throughout the campus.

“We are hopeful that students would be open to take an hour of their time to go through this in the sake that they are being respectful of their campus communities and that they know all information regarding the subject matter in an effort for OU to remain as a safe and reliable place for all students,” Hurse said. 

The training course, which is due April 16, takes approximately 50-60 minutes to complete, and individuals can work at their own pace from any computer. For assistance or questions about the course, visit the Dean of Students website.