Students required to undergo online Title IX training course


Yunah Kim

Guilford College distributes pamphlets about Title IX around campus.//Photo by Yunah Kim/The Guilfordian

Friday, March 1 was the deadline for all current Guilford students to complete the sexual assault prevention training course that was distributed via email to community members for completion online. Students who have not completed the training course will have a hold placed on their respective accounts and are expected to either attempt to finish the online material or get in contact with the Title IX team for further assistance.

With the passed deadline of the training course and the 2019-2020 academic year slowly coming to a close, more students and community members have turned to look at how Guilford has progressed in its efforts to keep up with the guidelines and goals of Title IX.

The academic year has seen a series of additions of new staff members in the Title IX and Equal Opportunity Office. An email from President Jane Fernandes addressed to students at the beginning of the year, on Aug. 30, 2018, reminded students of Guilford’s adherence to Title IX and federal and state civil rights laws on the basis of campus core values.

“Guilford College has a longstanding mission to provide a transformative, practical and excellent liberal arts education that produces critical thinkers in an inclusive, diverse environment,” said Fernandes in the email. “We are committed to upholding the principles of Title IX and taking a stand against sex discrimination, harassment or violence.”

Fernandes described the college’s goal for the academic year in respect to this.

“Preventing sexual discrimination, harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct and ensuring gender equality is a topic on the minds of every college and university educator, and we are no different, …” Fernandes said. “Fast forward to 2018, and we are taking an active stand against sexual misconduct and in support of gender equity on our campus. All students, regardless of gender or identity have the right to learn and participate in activities free from sexual harassment or acts of sexual violence.”

Fernandes urged students to read through Title IX and complete a required online training if they had not already done so.

Title IX Coordinator Barbara Lawrence emailed more detail on this online training to students around the end of January.

“As you may already know, Guilford College is partnered with EVERFI, whose mission is to help students address critical life skills such as alcohol abuse prevention, sexual assault prevention and financial literacy in higher education institutions across the country,” said Lawrence in the email. “Each year over 5 million students and employees complete these courses.”

It was through EVERFI and an EVERFI Higher Education account that students had access to this training course. The course was made available to students on Jan. 25. Lawrence emphasized the significance of the training.

“As part of our comprehensive prevention program for students and employees, Guilford College expects you to complete Sexual Assault Prevention for Undergraduates,” Lawrence said. “This online education will empower you to make well-informed decisions about issues that affect your years at Guilford College and beyond.”

First-year Sarah Seguin discussed the online course and training, describing how she believes more could be done to extend the reach of the office’s work.

“I think it can help get information out there, and I think it is a good way to finally get information out to students, but I don’t think a whole lot has gotten to students yet,” Seguin said.

First-year Taylor Young expressed similar sentiments.

“I haven’t heard about any incidents except that one from off campus a little while ago,” Young said. “Hopefully that means people are being safer, but I don’t know. I just haven’t heard a lot from Title IX or about this stuff.”

Regarding to how members of the Title IX and Equal Opportunity office might go about keeping up with the respective policies while ensuring Guilford’s campus is a safe space, students had a few ideas and requests. Seguin expressed desires for better communication from the office.

“I do think they could get more info out to students,” Seguin said. “There hasn’t been a lot at all and even though I hope the course will help prevent assault or harassment, I think there could be more.”

In a similar regard, Senior Gillian Sherman expressed concerns about the Title IX sexual assault prevention course.

“I just don’t know how useful it is,” Sherman said. “Obviously the information is good and I hope it can help, but it’s also so easy for students to just rush through it. I’m sure there are people who went through it just because they had to.”

Title IX and Equal Opportunity Office staff members who were contacted did not respond with comments on the topic.