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As Classes Start Up, Title IX Training Completion Rate Nears 100 Percent

Title IX requires students to take an online training every year, which reviews the resources provided by the department.
Title IX requires students to take an online training every year, which reviews the resources provided by the department. By Quinn G. Perini
By Simone C. Chu and Iris M. Lewis, Crimson Staff Writers

Ninety-nine percent of Harvard College students — including incoming students, returning students, and late admits — have now completed this year’s edition of the school’s annual Title IX training module, according to College Title IX Coordinator Brian Libby.

The 2019-2020 academic year marks the second time that course enrollment has been tied to completion of the training module, which teaches participants about Harvard’s Title IX policies and procedures. Last year, 100 percent of degree-seeking College students completed the training.

Prior to last year, the training was said to be mandatory, but had no enforcement mechanism and its completion rate was much lower. The 2017-2018 school year reported a 71 percent completion rate, and the 2016-2017 rate was 67 percent.

The training seeks to promote cultural changes around sexual misconduct, according to Harvard's Title IX website. The program aims to educate students, faculty, and staff on what “sexual harassment” might look like, as well as what the school’s enforcement of Title IX — a federal anti-sex-discrimination law that underpins Harvard’s sexual and gender-based harassment policies — entails.

In addition to making training mandatory, the Title IX office has recently expanded both its educational content and its target audience. Last spring, in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against Government professor Jorge I. Dominguez, the University began requiring all Harvard faculty and staff to complete a specially designed Title IX training module. Trainings have also been made available at Harvard’s graduate schools.

The 2019 iteration of the training included student anecdotes, examples of situations that could constitute Title IX violations, and resources available to students. For the first time in recent years, it did not include former College Title IX coordinator Emily Miller, who left the role recently and will be replaced in October by newly hired coordinator Erin Clark.

As in 2018, the small group of students who have failed to complete the module will have a hold on their course registration until they do so.

This year’s training came several months after the University participated in its second national sexual misconduct climate survey, which analyzed students’ experiences of harassment at Harvard. The survey’s results, which will be released this fall, will offer another measure of how the University’s culture has changed in the years since Harvard made its trainings mandatory.

— Staff writer Simone C. Chu can be reached at simone.chu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @simonechu_.

— Staff writer Iris M. Lewis can be reached at iris.lewis@thecrimson.com.

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College AdministrationCollege LifeSexual AssaultTitle IX