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Ohio State requires sexual misconduct training for employees

Ohio State implemented mandatory sexual misconduct training for employees of the university on Nov. 7. Credit: Shelby Metzger | Lantern Reporter

A new online sexual misconduct training program was implemented for employees at Ohio State on Nov. 7.

The university launched sexual misconduct training for all students in September, called “U Got This!: Your Online Guide to Speak Up, Step In and Create a Better Campus for All.” Faculty, staff and student employees are now required to complete a second training module, named “Report = Support: Identifying and Responding to Sexual Misconduct.”

“‘U Got This!’ talks about overall understanding of what sexual misconduct looks like, including sexual assault, sexual harassment [and] partner violence,” Title IX coordinator Kellie Brennan said. “Essentially getting everyone on the same page for how to recognize when that behavior is happening and how to help someone who may be impacted by that.”

“Report = Support” — a roughly 30-minute-long course complementing “U Got This!” — focuses mainly on university employees’ role as mandatory reporters. Students are not required to report allegations of sexual misconduct, but university employees are.

The decision to require sexual misconduct prevention training for students and staff comes after numerous sexual misconduct allegations against former Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss. Strauss was accused of abusing student-athletes during his time as a physician in athletics from 1978 to 1998.

A number of students and staff involved with Catharsis, the company responsible for creating the training, helped develop the final product. The training aims to open a dialogue about sexual misconduct and how people are affected by it.

Brennan said it was an important step for the university to collaborate with Undergraduate Student Government as well as other groups in requiring all students and employees to take the training.

“That resolution coming from all of those groups basically says we think that this is a really important issue that everyone in the community should be aware of,” she said.

USG Vice President Shawn Semmler said he believes that mandatory sexual misconduct training is a first step in educating the university community on what steps to take in difficult situations.

“I think oftentimes our faculty members are a crucial touch point in our students experience, and this training will help them learn what their duty is, and also help them learn how they can be a more proactive faculty member or staff member here on campus.”

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