This week, The Brandeis Hoot reported on the recent sexual assault training module that was sent out to students on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Brandeis Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Specialist Sheila McMahon spoke with The Hoot on why the Office of Prevention Services decided to reach out to the student body with the online training.
The Hoot commends McMahon and the rest of the Office of Prevention Services for providing students with the training. We believe that providing students with a way to think critically about their own experiences and assumptions in a private setting will be productive for students who may have a hard time discussing or thinking about these topics in a group setting. It is also worth appreciating that Get Inclusive will provide the university with the raw data of students’ responses. We hope that the university will take the next step in working toward a safer campus in analyzing and using the data for further action.
Activists within the Brandeis student body have worked tirelessly for years to get the university’s attention regarding sexual assault, overcoming heavy opposition from the administration. And while it is key that students demonstrate their passion for such issues, it is ridiculous that they should ever have to do such work without the support of the administration. This online training shows that the university is actively working to understand where students come from and educate them about sexual assault on campus.
We hope that the university can soon reach a point where sexual assault and consent education will be solidly built in to students’ educations throughout their time at Brandeis. While the email sent out to the community says that the training is mandatory and must be completed by Aug. 27, it is unclear how this will be enforced.
When students do not pay their bill on time, their Sage account is put on hold in order to stop them from enrolling in classes. We hope that someday the university could take students’ sexual assault education as seriously as they take their tuition payments. However, we do understand that those sorts of decisions cannot be made by the Office of Prevention Services staff alone. For action like this, the entire administration would need to be as invested in sexual assault education as this office is.
Brandeis prides itself as an open and safe space dedicated to social justice in higher education. The university has definitely made strides in combatting the epidemic of sexual violence and assault, but as always, there is more to be done. Action is commendable, and we hope to have the opportunity to commend even more action as the year goes on.