Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier managing editor
On Mar. 18, students received an email providing them access to the Sexual Assault Training Module for Undergraduates. The module takes approximately an hour to complete and is aimed at educating the student body on topics related to sexual assault, collegiate Title IX policies and other concepts related to consent and sexual misconduct on college campuses. Students are required to complete it by Apr. 9.
According to Dean of Students Lindsey Taylor, who serves as the Title IX Coordinator for Berry, the module provides an introduction to education on topics of sexual misconduct and Title IX relevant to college students with a focus on Berry policies and resources.
“It’s really a basic training module to give shared knowledge, language, information about sexual misconduct on a college campus, including where to report if you need to and what resources you have,” Taylor said.
As Taylor explained, the module is run through EVERFI, a company that provides training resources to businesses, schools and other groups on many social, economic and political issues.
Berry has worked with EVERFI for the last few years to create similar modules on sexual assault training. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, incoming Berry students were required to complete a similar module, also through EVERFI, on sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses. According to Taylor, this will continue to be the case in future years, but the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changing regulations for Title IX policy under the United States Department of Education, led to complications this school year.
“This module is not new to Berry, it’s the module that we’ve been using,” Taylor said. “The last two years, since summer of 2018, students have been required to take the module the summer before their first year at Berry. Then, their junior year, they were going to have to take a follow- up module adding onto that. That didn’t happen this year, and I had to spend the summer adapting to the new Title IX regulations. We still needed to get this training out though. It was later than I had wanted, but it was just where we were in the midst of everything else.”
This module is different from one taken by incoming Berry students in 2018 and 2019, however, as it is adjusted to the updated Title IX regulations put in effect by the federal government and Berry in the summer of 2020.
Students are required to take the module by Apr. 9. Generally, when incoming students are required to take it, if students do not complete the module, a hold will be placed by the Dean of Students office on their account. According to Taylor, this is not going to be the case for this module, but this enforcement mechanism will be implemented again in the future. Nonetheless students should still complete the module, and will continuously get reminder emails until they do so.
“In the typical cycle, a student would actually get a hold on their student account, they wouldn’t be able to register,” Taylor said. “We’re not doing that this semester. There’s a lot coming at you all. This semester we really just want to push out the education. And so, I’m not going to be putting hold on accounts and that kind of thing. However, once we start into the fall, our new students will be going through this, we will get back into that same cycle and rotation, with that clear enforcement.”
The module consists of quizzes, videos, short readings and simulations. It begins with general conversations about respect and moving into more specific Berry policies and Georgia law, as well as advice on dealing with situations of sexual misconduct. Students take a pre-course survey, as well as pre- and post-tests related to the module material. Berry and Berry Title IX administrators will have access to the information provided in these quizzes, but, according to Taylor, will only be able to collectively analyze the results.
“We get a report that shows how students responded to the pre and the post test. It’s also for us to see ‘was there learning’?” Taylor said. “Or ‘was there one question that was answered incorrectly disproportionally to another question?’ because maybe that’s where we need to spend some more of our resources and time with education. We don’t look or get individual students’ responses, we don’t get that level of detail.”
In addition to providing training on how to prevent sexual misconduct and respect individuals, the module gives students a number of federal, state and campus resources to utilize if ever needed. Students can go back to the module at any point in time after completion by logging into their EVERFI account.
According to Taylor, this is just one step in a more comprehensive educational program related to sexual assault and sexual misconduct. The EVERFI system allows Berry to create follow up modules for additional training directed at students, as well as modules for faculty and staff members. Taylor hopes that as the Berry community continues to learn about and discuss the issues presented in this module, it will become a safer and more communicative place.
“When we think about an education, it really is preparing our students for the future,” Taylor said. “That education is not just in the classroom, it’s how we treat each other. It really is about respecting one another. In the Title IX world, it’s about respecting each other’s body, and what I hope is that we become a community that cares deeply about one another to the point where we’re not taking advantage, we’re not hurting, whether that be physically, mentally, emotionally, one another. I don’t think that’s a tall order to ask.”