NSU President George Hanbury sent a memo to all students on Jan. 8 announcing the launch of “Think About It,” an hour-long online training program about sexual misconduct and prevention that all NSU students must complete by Feb. 28. Last semester, NSU faculty and staff completed a similar program and incoming students will have to complete the course before the fall semester.
“NSU is committed to providing our students with classrooms, clinics and other learning environments that are free from sexual harassment, violence and other forms of discrimination,” said Hanbury in the memo. “NSU depends on every member of our community – students, faculty, staff, and visitors – to safely intervene and/or report when someone engages in sexual harassment or violence towards another.”
Two days after the memorandum, Laura Bennett, Title IX coordinator, sent an email to students with additional instructions on how they can access the course. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs that receive federal funds. Title IX encompasses multiple areas including sexual misconduct. According to Bennett, 200 students completed the course on the first day it was accessible.
Bennett said that the course comes as a means of being proactive and is “truly prevention driven.” The course will cover not only NSU’s sexual misconduct policy but also how students can stay safe in their professional and personal lives and how they can step in if they see sexual misconduct occur.
“We have intellectual students and we want to be able to give them the tools [they need],” said Bennett.
Desmond Daniels, deputy Title IX coordinator, said that the program is also a means of gauging what the NSU community thinks about certain situations. For example, participants have to answer a question about whether or not it’s appropriate for a supervisor to have a romantic relationship with a subordinate. Answers to questions like this are anonymous. As Bennett explained, these questions, like the program name suggests, are really to get you to think about the topics at hand.
“I hope that — just like we saw with employees — we [as an office] get more phone calls and there’s more discussion about the topic,” said Daniels.
Along with the “Think About It” course, Bennett and Daniels plan to launch monthly programming this semester about different topics such as sexual assault, dating violence, and healthy relationships. They’ve also worked on updating NSU’s Title IX website to include a way to report sexual misconduct online and a live FAQ about “Think About It.”
Bennett said that she hopes to support students in whatever way they may need. For more information on “Think About It” or Title IX, visit nova.edu/title-ix/index.html.