For the students who were bumped to the end of priority for not completing the new sexual assault education, Haven may benefit students in more ways than one in the future.
Haven, the new sexual assault education program for Cal Poly, is part of a broader system that all California State Universities (CSUs) are subject to due to the new Title IX initiative. Title IX mandates all CSU undergraduates and transfer students to complete an online sexual assault education for the first time in history.
Title IX requires institutions to take necessary precautions to prevent sexual assault on their campuses, and to respond promptly and effectively when an assault is reported. In response to Title IX, the CSU Chancellor’s Office issued Executive Order 1095, which outlines information on what to do if you are a victim of sexual violence, and mandates educational training programs to prevent sexual violence.
Dean of Students Jean DeCosta is working in correspondence with the Office of Equal Opportunity as one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators for Student Affairs, where she handles Title IX compliance.
“With the new implementation of Title IX guidelines, the legislature has asked that we make sure that every student has this education in some manner,” DeCosta said.
Even though the sexual assault training program is now mandated, Cal Poly had always been working to get the information to students, DeCosta said.
“Students need information more than once and prior to these mandates, we were doing a good job at reaching out,” DeCosta said. “But, that’s not enough; we need to be sure that they have the information and we are trying to use as many opportunities as we can to provide that.”
The first year that incoming freshmen were required to take the mandated online training program, Haven – Understanding Sexual Assault, was in 2014. But in the past year, Haven has expanded to all undergraduates due to the Executive Order.
“It’s important to understand that we have always done outreach, always done education, which was mandated to certain clubs during SOAR or WOW,” DeCosta said. “But, this online education program was the first year we mandated that they take the online course in addition to what they get during SOAR and WOW.”
The 2014 incoming students were required to take Haven again this year. However, that will not be the case for consecutive years, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Student Affairs Stephanie Jarrett said.
“Previously we had incoming freshmen take Haven, but now it’s a matter of us wanting every student to know about this,” Jarrett said.
Instead of Haven in future years, Cal Poly plans to implement refresher courses for sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“The refresher courses probably won’t be that long because it won’t go over everything that the freshmen are getting but will still provide an overview,” Jarrett said. “We want to tailor the message to the level that the student is so that it will focus on different areas.”
Haven consists of two components: part one, the information portion, and part two, an assessment 30 days later.
“With the assessment component, we want to see — did you learn anything or did that information affect your behavior in the last 30 days?” DeCosta said. “We are still collecting data to make sure that every student takes it.”
However, this year has had a high participation rate, DeCosta said.
“A majority of freshmen did it before the due date, which was fantastic,” DeCosta said. “I believe that only 500 of the 15,000 continuing students are left that did not comply.”
But, for the students who have not completed Haven, a hold can be placed on their accounts.
“Students who have not yet completed Haven as we have outlined to them, they will have a hold placed on their record by the Office of Rights and Responsibilities,” DeCosta said. “We will notify them multiple times if they have not done it, but this is a requirement by law.”
Not only is Haven a federal mandate, but it is essential in promoting sexual assault awareness.
“With programs like this, we are trying to create safe spaces for students to come forward and report sexual misconduct on the campus,” DeCosta said. “It is hard to know if students are coming forward due to changes in the educational climate, but we are trying to do a better job of reaching out to campus.”