Ohio State faculty members received an email last week encouraging them to complete voluntary online training.
The training is being offered to help faculty and staff prevent and respond to “sexual misconduct and relationship violence,” and it complements the enacting of a facultywide obligation to report instances of sexual assault.
The faculty training is being administered as the latest in a series of the university’s Buckeyes ACT programs, which together with student training launched earlier this year and other initiatives, compromise OSU’s comprehensive plan to combat sexual assault.
The facultywide email from Joseph Steinmetz, OSU executive vice president and provost, and co-authored by Andraea Douglass, senior vice president of Talent, Culture and Human Resources, expressed the intent and necessity of the training: “At Ohio State, there is no place for sexual misconduct or violence of any kind, and the university is aggressively working to prevent these issues.”
“We’re really trying to raise awareness of the issue,” said Title IX coordinator Kellie Brennan. “(The training) is really meant to be a complement to the student training launched earlier this year.”
Unlike the student training, which will be mandatory for incoming students during their first-year orientation, the faculty training remains voluntary, yet “strongly encouraged.”
“There’s a lot of structural things and infrastructure changes that need to happen before we can make it mandatory,” Brennan said.
The training, according to the OSU Title IX website, requires a 45-60 minute commitment to complete. It gives examples and descriptions of sexual harassment, relationship violence, sexual assault, and outlines ways to respond during similar scenarios.
The email to staff also laid out the goals of the initiative: “In addition to ensuring that you can fulfill your reporting obligations as an Ohio State employee, we hope this training helps you to think deeply about this topic, and that you are able to translate the benefits into helping co-workers, family and friends,” the email said.
“We are really encouraging employees to take the training so they would know how to support someone that could come forward to them,” Brennan said.