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Harvard College Proceeds with Online Title IX Training for Second Year

By Anna M. Kuritzkes, Crimson Staff Writer

The College used input from undergraduate focus groups to update its sexual assault prevention training modules for 2017, according to Title IX Coordinator Emily J. Miller.

Miller, who helped roll out Harvard’s first-ever online module last year, said feedback from three different focus groups helped her office determine how to best update the modules.

For example, the module now includes a scenario about sexual assault instead of in-class sexual harassment, following feedback from students.

Two Title IX training modules were offered this year—one for returning and one for incoming students—though Miller said that it was “possible” that her office would develop class-specific modules in the future.

The College initially set a Sept. 7 deadline to complete the module, but extended that date until Sept. 15 for students who had not yet finished. There is currently no penalty for failing to complete the module, and returning students may opt out and choose to attend an in-person training instead.

In March 2016, a University-wide task force released a series of recommendations for overhauling sexual assault prevention efforts and charged individual schools with developing specific implementation plans by the fall. The recommendations called on schools to augment sexual assault education and prevention training, with an emphasis on mandatory annual training for all students, interactive sessions in small groups, and online modules. In line with the task force’s suggestions, the College rolled the first iteration of the online training module to all undergraduates in September 2016.

Miller said almost every incoming student completed the modules year, because it was sent out before the academic year began. In addition to the online training, incoming students must attend in-person trainings with their entryways and attend a performance on sexual assault prevention.

Miller estimated the incoming student training completion rate to be 100 percent, but said she did not have an estimate for the completion rate for returning students.

“It’s always tougher to get returning students on board to complete trainings like this,” Miller said. “I do imagine that we’ll have our work cut out for us in getting returning students to complete online trainings from year to year.”

In interviews with three returning students, two said they did not complete the module.

Ify Ogu ’20 said she would rather have attended a group in-person session, similar to the entryway meetings freshmen must attend.

“I don’t feel like I ever have enough free time to sit down and do the whole thing,” Ogu said. “Maybe an entryway meeting in one of the first days of school is a better way to get a lot of people to complete it.”

—Staff writer Anna M. Kuritzkes can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AnnaKuritzkes.

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