Schools Move Toward Anti-Sexual Harassment Training
A recent article in the University of South Carolina's Daily Gamecock online student newspaper reports that beginning in the Fall of 2021, mandatory anti-sexual harassment training “will be a regular requirement for faculty, staff and students….” The article cites an email from the university's interim president, summarizing the actions the school will take to respond to more than a thousand reports of campus sexual violence or harassment in the most recent five-year reporting period. The article credits the school's Title IX Task Force with galvanizing action and a Title IX Implementation Group with carrying actions out. Mandatory training represents a trend. Harvard University began requiring students to complete an anti-sexual harassment training module in 2018.
The “Good” of Training to Prevent Sexual Harassment
Well-designed training to prevent sexual harassment can surely make students more aware of the harms of sexual harassment. Training can also make students less likely to commit sexual harassment and more willing to report and resist it. Voluntary training is unlikely to reach large segments of a student population. Colleges and universities offer many good learning activities, but students have limited time. They can't do everything. Voluntary training is also unlikely to reach some of the students who would most benefit from anti-sexual harassment training. As with anything, the problems are often the ones who don't think they're a problem. Required training could well reach students who are most likely to commit sexual harassment without realizing it. Requiring training could, in other words, keep any number of students from facing misconduct charges.
The “Bad and Ugly” of Forced Anti-Sexual Harassment Training
On the other hand, forcing anti-sexual harassment training on students could have its backlash. Certainly, well-designed training can be a good thing, especially when the participants desire the training. But requiring training forces participation by those who don't see the need or have the desire. Negative reaction to compelled participation can make some students less sensitive to the issue rather than more sensitive. That adverse result may be especially likely when the training is not well-designed or properly implemented. Some training is just bad training. And even for those who desire the training and receive good training, training can result in hyper-sensitivity to the issue, producing overreactions. Every little misunderstanding can begin to look like sexual harassment, when they are instead just misunderstandings.
Retain Expert Counsel If Facing Sexual Harassment Charges
The current wave of Title IX allegations and charges on college and university campuses is unlikely to stop soon. Mandatory training may eventually reduce charges, but it may initially increase false or exaggerated allegations. If you face a Title IX sexual misconduct charge, or a broader non-Title IX sexual harassment charge, then your best step is to get national expert help. Don't go it alone. Instead, promptly retain national college and university Title IX sexual-misconduct defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. Your future is on the line. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation, or use the online service.