The University Senate recently passed a resolution that requires all students, faculty, staff and administrators to participate in training on sexual misconduct.
The resolution, which passed unanimously in March, states that the university is working to develop “new training platforms” to educate participants on the issue of university sexual misconduct including prevention and resources. The training will be required initially and periodically throughout an individual’s time at Ohio State, according to the resolution.
“[We] decided that it is time to put together this resolution that really expresses a desire that many of us have as the leaders of our constituency groups to see the university move forward with a required training,” said Liz Gordon-Canlas, chair of the University Staff Advisory Committee. “The timing felt right, it’s a topic that’s important to the university staff advisory committee.”
Gordon-Canlas said currently it is left up to the individual department and college to decide who is required to complete training on sexual misconduct. The new policy will create one set program for the university.
Although the trainings are still in development, the resolution states the training programs will be assessed regularly to make sure they are relevant and effective in the prevention of sexual misconduct and promoting a “healthy and respectful campus culture.”
“The resolution was intentionally written to be broad so that the university had the ability to explore training options and then implement sexual misconduct training to everyone,” said Alex Wesaw, a sponsor of the resolution.
Three of the sponsors of the resolution presented the issue to the Senate for a vote and it passed unanimously.
“It was actually, I think, very symbolic. It was [passed] on International Women’s Day,” Gordon-Canlas said. “Knowing that sexual misconduct and sexual violence impacts all people of all identities, but especially powerful on International Women’s Day to put that resolution forward, as a woman and as a chair of the Staff Advisory Committee.”
The resolution requests that the university present a status report to the University Senate by next spring about the implementation of the training.
“We asked for a report to be presented in the year 2019 so that we could understand how the impact of the training was positively shifting campus culture,” Gordon-Canlas said.
Wesaw, a doctoral candidate in city and regional planning, said he hopes the training will help reduce sexual misconduct on campus, and eventually help eliminate it altogether.
“I think that it is important for the campus environment to be safe for everyone. There is no place for sexual misconduct anywhere, in my opinion,” he said. “I hope that this is one step toward the university community becoming more hospitable and courteous to everyone that’s a part of the university community.”