Forced training proves problematic

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Staff-op-10-16-15Sexual assault and alcohol abuse are serious issues not to be taken lightly and are, frankly, impossible to solve overnight.

There will always be people who don’t know the difference between right and wrong, or who know the difference and simply don’t care. For some people, there will always be “just one more drink.”

Forcing students and faculty to take tests and surveys and calling that “training,” frankly, won’t change that.

Holding people’s academic future hostage and threatening to take away social Greek members’ privileges is conducive to indignation, not education.

Simply put: you cannot test away problems like sexual assault and alcohol abuse.

These methods of “training,” Title IX and AlcoholEDU, are just Band-Aids – thin pieces of plastic or fabric temporarily covering a wound. We can’t act surprised when it doesn’t prevent an infection. 

When sexual assault victims come forward or when people wind up in the hospital from drinking too much, we can’t say we did everything we could because we made people take some online surveys.

It certainly is not entirely up to Murray State to prevent these things from happening. The information provided through these trainings is valuable and is probably the reason why there have been so many sexual assaults reported this semester.

That sounds like a bad thing, and it is, but it likely means at least one goal of the training is being met: people are beginning to understand the many forms sexual assault takes. People are more comfortable and equipped with better knowledge to come forward and file an official report.

But the assaults are still happening. People, both illegally and legally, still drink alcohol excessively.

Murray State has a major predicament on their hands – a double-edged sword.

If given a choice between doing something and doing nothing, the latter usually seems most appealing to people, especially when you’re one of thousands of students and faculty members facing endless requirements day in and day out. We all have “better things to do.”

Thus, Murray State had to enforce the training as yet another requirement. Because if a problem persists and people aren’t voluntarily educating themselves, the university is forced into forcing our hands.

We then complete the training as quickly as we can without taking the questions or information seriously because it’s just another thing to cross off our to-do lists. The fact that they’re actively trying to do something about serious, harmful issues becomes a moot point.

Online training is clearly better than not addressing these problems at all, but we need to find a better solution and we clearly don’t know what that may be or where to start.

The answer may be to have training in person – speakers, presentations, etc. Maybe we need to funnel the time and resources spent on forced education into improved security and lighting on campus. Perhaps, instead of increasing the punishment of those who don’t take a few tests, we should increase the punishment of sexual assault, public intoxication and underage drinking offenders.

Nobody at The News knows the right answer or claims to know better than Murray State, but there’s got to be a better way.

We need to face these issues head-on instead of standardizing them to the point of resentment.

2 Comments on "Forced training proves problematic"

  1. am from central Illinois and my daughter attends MSU and it does seem a bit much. However I also know that Illinois State students are being required to take the same tests. In fact I have a patient that is 30 years old married father of 3 and a grad

  2. Was cut off….but anyway he is a graduate student and is being required to take the same tests…. Too excessive in my opinion.

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