The university is introducing a new online training course about sexual assault and misconduct prevention for students this week as part of the university’s response to last year’s Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey.
The training program, launched as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, looks to increase education and bystander intervention. The survey showed 50.7 percent of respondents reported they did nothing to intervene when they witnessed a drunk person heading for a sexual encounter; 24.2 percent of respondents who witnessed such a situation indicated they did not know what to do.
All Georgetown undergraduates are expected to complete this course centering on sexual misconduct prevention on campus by April 21. The new course builds upon the training each first year student undergoes at the beginning of their first fall semester.
University President John J. DeGioia said the university must deepen its commitment to addressing sexual assault on campus.
“As members of the Georgetown community, each of us is responsible for establishing and maintaining an environment for everyone on our campus to thrive as they engage in their professional and academic pursuits and in their own personal growth,” DeGioia wrote in a campuswide email regarding this new training course.
The online format provides examples and scenarios more relevant to students who have lived on campus as well as allows a broader range of Georgetown students to learn more about sexual misconduct and the resources available on campus, according to Title IX Coordinator Laura Cutway.
“Now that students have more experience on campus, and given that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the University felt this was an appropriate time to share this training, reiterating our commitment to educating students on this important topic and reminding students of the resources available to them,” Cutway wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Georgetown University Student Association Safety and Sexual Assault Policy Team Chair Nina Young (SFS ’19) said she hopes the course will raise more awareness and encourage discussion of the issue on campus.
“Sexual assault, harassment, and relationship violence are issues that pervade all of our lives deeply, whether we recognize them or not, and deserve a closer look than a rushed training session for freshmen,” Young wrote in an email to The Hoya. “While we now have great programs through SAPE and our new Bystander Intervention courses, a lot of students still manage to rid themselves of the responsibility — and value — of this dialogue for various reasons.”
Young said the course demonstrates the work that Georgetown has yet to do in addressing sexual assault.
“What the student outside of these circles may not realize is that there is absolutely always more work to be done regarding campus and sexual misconduct,” Young wrote. “What may seem strangely-timed or overblown is simply an expression of the way sexual assault and relationship violence cuts deep into the heart of this campus.”
Hoya Staff Writer Hannah Urtz contributed reporting.
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