Story by Mikayla Marshall, Contributing writer
Students returning to campus are now required to do mandatory Title IX training, a requirement that if not completed can prevent students from registering for Spring classes.
Any student who fails to complete the Title IX training by Oct. 5 will have a hold placed on their account. Seniors, also, won’t be able to graduate without completing the training.
While some see this as a consequence or as unfair, others find it necessary in order to give the students a reason to finish the training.
“I’m not surprised the school decided to add that consequence for not completing the training,” said Olivia Dreckman, senior from Louisville, Kentucky.
Dreckman said a hold can also be put on the academic tab for failure to pay for a parking pass. She said the training is important but she wished the questions were more written in a different way, so that people would take it more seriously.
Dreckman said she felt like the information provided throughout the training is common sense and the quizzes could be passed without watching the videos.
Bryanna Kampwerth, freshman from Highland, Illinois, said it is an important topic but a lot of people didn’t take it seriously.
“The consequence is a good incentive,” she said. “Otherwise nobody would have done it.”
Aaron Stevens, sophomore from Cadiz, Kentucky, said he thought the training was important, but the punishment is too harsh.
“It makes it hard for people with no Internet access to complete the training,” he said. “If they don’t complete the training then students shouldn’t be allowed into sports games or something of that nature. They pay for those classes so I don’t see why they would be prohibited to take them.”
The purpose behind the Title IX training, is to teach students and faculty about situations regarding sexual harassment, assault and discrimination, according to the U.S. Department of Education. It’s the goal of the U.S. Department of Education’s office for Civil Rights to enforce this law so that “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination.”
One in five women on college campuses have been sexually assaulted during their time there, according to the Campus Sexual Assault Study conducted for the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice.
President Bob Davies said the training will increase awareness and complexity of the law, as well as start discussion among students about situations regarding this topic. He said there needs to be a full understanding about sexual harassment/assault and how it affects students lives.
“There is no such thing as an innocent bystander,” Davies said.
Yet the requirement is not the only change to Title IX that the University has implemented. Two new Title IX officers, Laura Cox and Darryl Lockett, were brought into the office to assist with handling cases and to help prevent a conflict of interest.
Davies said that because Murray State is a small campus, avoiding a conflict of interest as well as providing quick assistance is important.
Davies said the University will also host Janet Judge, a nationally-known authority on Title IX, in September.
“The more times we have conversations, the more comfortable we are with the conversations, then hopefully, the more people will feel comfortable to take action,” Davies said. “To me, that’s where everything comes into play.”
He said that with Title IX, the University’s training, quizzes and discussions are an effort to change the mindset of the University community and are meant to help people understand the significance of the law.
“If you’re going to change the action of people, do you change laws or do you change mindsets?” Davies said. “You can change the law, but if you don’t change mindsets, then nothing happens.”