Courtesy of Yale University

Starting this academic year, all students, including juniors and seniors, will be required to complete annual Title IX training with the Office of Gender and Campus Culture.

In the past, to abide by the Title IX requirement that all students receive training, the University had distributed emails and booklets with information about the University’s resources and policies on sexual misconduct. But Yale’s new policy requires all upper-level students to complete Title IX training, according to a Thursday email to juniors and seniors from Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd and Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar.

The new requirement is part of the University’s broader efforts to sponsor more active participation in Title IX training among faculty, staff and students. In July, the University introduced a mandatory online sexual misconduct training program for all faculty, staff and graduate and professional school students. Last year, all of Yale’s varsity athletic teams participated in mandatory Title IX workshops after the National Collegiate Athletic Association adopted a new policy requiring that all student athletes, coaches and athletics administrators complete annual training on sexual violence prevention.

“Annual training strengthens our community’s capacity to prevent, intervene and respond to sexual misconduct,” Boyd and Lizarríbar wrote in a Thursday email to juniors and seniors. “Working together, we can cultivate a community where sexual misconduct has no place — where each of us can feel safe, supported and fully able to take advantage of all the opportunities that Yale has to offer.”

Current seniors must complete the training by Dec. 7, and juniors must do the same by April 22. The Office of Gender and Campus Culture, led by Boyd, will offer 10 different workshops, which include a variety of in-person training sessions and the same online program required of faculty, staff and graduate students. While juniors and seniors are required to participate in one of these workshops, the sessions are open to all undergraduates.

First-year and sophomore students are already required to complete Title IX workshops. All first-year students participate in the “Myth of Miscommunication” workshop during their first month, and sophomores complete mandatory bystander intervention workshops. Both programs are facilitated by Communication and Consent Educators.

Staff in the OGCC, SHARE, the Title IX office and the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct will facilitate the new workshops this fall. Next semester, some CCEs will also facilitate trainings, Boyd said. She added that many students will likely choose the online training option — which she called “substantive [and] nuanced” — out of convenience. Still, she said most of the in-person workshops, which are capped at 18 students, filled up “almost immediately.” Her office is in the process of adding more sessions.

The workshops’ topics range from advanced bystander intervention to supporting survivors to understanding Yale’s Title IX and UWC procedures. Students can also take TIPS Bartender Training — a bartender certification course about managing alcohol in social situations — to fulfill the Title IX training requirement. Boyd said her office developed all of the workshops, tailoring the trainings to Yale’s campus needs while drawing on “rapidly evolving public health research in this zone.”

Students may also request an individualized in-person conversation with a CCE or staff member at the OGCC to fulfill the requirement.

“I do not want this new requirement to be a burden on anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct in their own lives,” Boyd told the News.

Many juniors and seniors, including first-year counselors, varsity athletes and peer liaisons, receive Title IX training through their roles on campus, which will fulfill the annual training requirement. Last spring, the OGCC and CCEs began facilitating mandatory Title IX workshops for every varsity athletic team after the introduction of the new NCAA policy last August.

Many athletic teams had already been requesting workshops from CCEs to discuss strategies for creating a climate of respect, according to Katrina Garry ’18, a Student Affairs Fellow in the OGCC and a former CCE who helped roll out the mandatory workshops for athletes. Athletes will continue completing workshops in teams with the CCEs to fulfill the NCAA and Title IX requirements, Boyd added.

“Each workshop is planned with representatives from the sports team to be personalized and catered to the team’s needs, so it is engaging and applicable,” Garry said.

Three students interviewed by the News responded positively to the new requirement for juniors and seniors.

Noah Strausser ’19 said he was happy to see the announcement and signed up for the workshop on supporting survivors because its description promised to teach techniques and skills that have not been discussed in other training sessions.

“I’ve had nothing but good experiences at my previous Title IX training sessions, and I think everyone could use further advice and training with these issues than [what] we get our first and sophomore years,” Strausser said in an email to the News.

Still, Strausser said he was confused by the timing of the announcement in the middle of the semester. He speculated whether some students may overlook the email and be unaware of the new policy.

Annie Cheng ’20 said she appreciated that the OGCC is offering workshops with a range of topics to suit students’ different needs while still covering the basics of Yale’s policies and Title IX law. Cheng said she signed up for “Making the Party: Hosting Skills for Creating a Safe, Welcoming Space” because she enjoys hosting friends and wants to ensure her space “is always friendly and safe for all involved.”

Title IX, a federal law passed as part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, protects people from sex and gender discrimination in any federally funded education program or activity.

Alice Park |