A total of 4,309 students recently completed an online sexual assault awareness course during their first few months on a Utah State University campus. Incoming students to USU across the state were required to take the course, which addresses the issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and sexual harassment. Those students who did not finish the course – only 4 percent of new students – saw a registration hold placed on their accounts this week.
This course is the foundation of a sexual violence prevention strategy adopted by the USU Sexual Violence Task Force during the summer of 2017. Other key pieces of the strategy include implementation of a campus-wide bystander intervention training program to prevent sexual violence and an ongoing social marketing campaign to reinforce concepts introduced through the online course and the bystander training.
“A lot of effort went into making sure all students completed the course,” said James Morales, vice president for Student Affairs. “Educating as many students as possible is an important part of ensuring the safety of our campus.”
Universities that make the online course mandatory for students see an average completion rate of 87 percent, well below USU’s completion rate of 96 percent. Schools often do not hit 100 percent due to transfers, students leaving college altogether or the school’s inability to follow through on the mandate.
“We had a campus-wide commitment – from the president to each staff member – to getting all students through the course,” Morales said. “With registration holds motivating the remaining students to complete the course, we expect to get to nearly 100 percent.”
University staff contacted students through numerous emails, text messages, phone calls and postcards. Then registration holds went into effect for the 186 students who have yet to finish the course.
Most students, however, only received one or two emails and completed the course before they even arrived on campus in August.
Graduate student and USU staff member Brandy Reeves recently completed the course.
“It’s definitely relevant to all students,” Reeves said. “It’s going to take all of us, of all genders, to stop sexual harassment and violence and end rape culture. It’s not just an issue for offenders and victims. Real issues can never be solved without everyone’s help.”
First-year undergraduates, including transfer students, were also required to complete another online program that aims to reduce underage drinking and at-risk drinking behavior. More information can be found at usu.edu/haven.
Contact: Amanda DeRito, Sexual Misconduct Information Coordinator, Public Relations and Marketing | Utah State University, firstname.lastname@example.org | 435-797-2759