Editorial: New level of sexual assault and violence prevention education a positive move

The Wilbur Cross Building on the UConn campus in Storrs, Connecticut. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut will introduce a new sexual assault and interpersonal violence workshop for rising juniors and seniors in the coming month, addressing a glaring omission from current education and policies. The program, “Not Anymore,” which is run by Student Success, aims to “reduce interpersonal violence” on campus (http://title9.studentsuccess.org/not-anymore/undergraduate/). Opting to add more education for upperclassmen at UConn is a positive move that will hopefully fulfill Student Success’ mission of reducing sexual and interpersonal violence on campus.

As with current programs, such as AlcoholEDU, students will be required to complete modules for “Not Anymore” and achieve a certain level of proficiency (85 percent) before being allowed to register for courses. Though students might lament having another requirement to fulfill before registering for junior year courses, the commitment to education regarding sexual assault and relationship violence is invaluable.

Though it is unclear if having students complete 35 minutes of modules of this particular program will have a significant impact on campus sexual assault and relationship violence, the effort at continued education is worthwhile. Reserving all information and education for freshman or transfer-student orientation was a shortsighted and poorly-constructed strategy.

The program’s reliance on scenario-based education is not unfamiliar to UConn students. However, the ability for UConn to incorporate campus-specific definitions, policies and concepts will provide greater flexibility and assurance that students are being educated in a national, state and campus specific manner. The program educates on “consent, sexual assault, stalking, domestic/dating violence, bystander intervention, sexual harassment, risk reduction and more.” As with all campuses across the United States and abroad, these issues are pervasive and ever-present. Adding a second-level of education for rising juniors should serve to reinforce UConn’s commitment to making all campuses safe and secure spaces.

Though the program is a beneficial move, the university cannot assume this program alone will have a tremendous impact on campus sexual assault and relationship violence. Continuing education throughout a student’s time at UConn ensures that new knowledge is constantly being provided to them as members of the school’s community. However, ensuring that the information has a meaningful impact goes far beyond a simple online program. While this is a positive step, there is always more that can be done, and more that should be done.