No excuse for low sexual assault, alcohol ed count

By Abby Zaccaria

Student participation in the mandatory sexual assault and alcohol education programs is way too low.

All incoming freshmen and transfer students are required to complete two online programs: AlcoholEdu: For College and Haven: Understanding Sexual Assault. This is in accordance with new federal regulations that require colleges to educate their students about these subjects. The courses discuss the different forms that sexual assault can take such as stalking, sexual harassment and violence, as well as important topics regarding alcohol.

The courses were supposed to be completed Oct. 23, but student participation was at 82 percent as of Tuesday, said Wellness Promotion director Donna Schoenfeld, who is in charge of administering the modules. The rate of completion has improved since Oct. 16 when compliance was at 74 percent, but the number of students who haven’t completed the programs is still unacceptable.

One of the courses requires students to read stories and scenarios about sexual assault and alcohol, then fill out a survey at the end of the course.

“The goal is to offer new students fundamental knowledge regarding alcohol and sexual assault, risk reduction measures for themselves and others, and how to proactively and safely stand up for others in need,” according to an NIU Today news release.

Students who have not completed the courses will have a hold placed on their NIU accounts, which prevents them from enrolling in classes.

The first day students can sign up for classes is Nov. 6, so the students who haven’t completed the courses should do so as soon as possible.

NIU’s method of enforcing completion is a good idea, but avoiding a hold is not the only reason students should participate in the course.

Students will gain important information, such as what to do if they are sexually assaulted, the different forms sexual assault and the dangers of alcohol misuse. The courses combined only take about two hours to complete and can be done in two sessions.

Having the courses online actually makes it more convenient for students to complete since they can do it anytime that is convenient for them and anywhere there is WiFi. It’s not like they are asking us to write a paper or something.

The least students can do is get it done. It is very little to ask in exchange for all the important information they will gain when they complete the courses.