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Only one person showed up? Then let’s make sexual violence ‘training’ mandatory!

At George Washington University, here’s what you recommend when students choose not attend a sexual violence information session: Make the session mandatory.

That is what GW Student Association President Nick Gumas suggested to a Board of Trustees meeting last Friday.

“For many incoming students, understandably college is the first time that they hear about sexual assault and sexual violence, and we want to make sure again everyone’s prepared on day one,” Gumas said.

The GW Hatchet reports:

Gumas pointed to several “high-profile” incidents of sexual abuse on campus last semester, including a sexual assault reported at the Phi Sigma Kappa townhouse, and said trainings should focus on the “red zone” – the first few weeks of classes – when sexual assault is most likely to occur.

“The first six weeks on a college campus are a potentially dangerous time for the issue of sexual assault, and we just want to make sure people are as prepared as possible,” Gumas said.

University President Steven Knapp said in an interview that he understood Gumas’ “articulate case” to hold sexual violence trainings at CI (Colonial Inauguration) because it’s one of a handful of times when all freshmen are in the same place.

“The biggest challenge is communication because as [Gumas] said, once students come here, it’s hard to get any particular education initiative to go to students,” Knapp said. “If we use it at Colonial Inauguration, that’s the one time you have a captive audience of everybody all together.”

The push for mandatory CI training follows the recent release of GW’s sexual violence survey results, in which 20 percent of female freshmen students said they felt unsafe on campus at night. The survey also found that about a quarter of undergraduate students experience unwanted sexual behavior while at GW, and the majority of students don’t know how to contact the Title IX office.

The Student Association and Students Against Sexual Assault at George Washington unsurprisingly have come out in support of the mandatory training.

At this time, GW officials only have said they “will ‘continue to present’ sexual abuse topics” at Colonial Inauguration.

Columbia is the most recent university to implement a similarly themed — mandatory — program.

Read the full article.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.