Does anyone really believe it will do what they say it will?
Like diversity training, Title IX training is currently very fashionable on college campuses. Harvard just made it mandatory for all undergrad students. Many schools insist on some kind of bias and sexual assault training for its students, under the assumption that students who receive such instruction will be less likely to commit acts of sexual assault and bias.
Such intentions, which to be sure are well-meaning, at the same time seem woefully naive. In truth, it is incredibly unlikely that a few Powerpoint-centric lecture sessions—even when they’re accompanied by those interminable “small-group discussions”—will have any effect at all on someone’s propensity to commit discrimination or sexual assault. Such behaviors, which are generally deeply ingrained (and often, in the latter case, indicative of some sort of psychopathic pathology), cannot be undone by an afternoon of corporate politically correct drivel. Think of the average bigot or rapist. Do you think that person’s mind will be changed by a nondiscrimination worksheet from their university’s diversity office?
If Title IX training doesn’t work—and it almost certainly doesn’t—how do we fight against things like rape and unfair sex-based discrimination? Prosecuting such things to the fullest extent of the law when we discover them is one way. Happily, the terrible problem of sexual assault has actually been declining in recent years: Since the mid-1990s, the rate of sexual assault in this country has dropped precipitously, likely due to a variety of factors (none of them, it’s almost certain, having to do with Title IX). Whatever the solution, a campus workshop is very likely not among them.
This type of training is, as written above, well-intentioned. But it is also almost certainly a waste of time. Colleges should avoid the expense and hassle of things that do not work; other than political grandstanding, there is little reason to subject anyone to useless training of this type.
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