A third installment of the online course “Think About It” has been released to all undergraduate, graduate and professional students, who are required to complete the course by Dec. 1. This is the first time upperclassmen students have received this course.
After Dec. 1, if students do not complete the course, a hold will be placed on their accounts, according to an email memo sent Nov. 2 by Stephanie Ives, associate vice president and dean of students.
As of Nov. 5, 10 percent of students have completed the course.
All freshmen and transfer students must complete “Think About It” parts one and two before they arrive on campus. Those first two programs focus on sexual misconduct, unhealthy relationships and safe partying.
“Think About It: The Way Forward” focuses on sexual misconduct, dating violence and stalking.
“The goal is to make sure all students understand what sexual violence is and the different components of domestic violence and stalking and cyber stalking,” said Ives. “They need to understand so they’re equipped to intervene.”
Ives said the program takes about 30 minutes and does not need to be completed in one session. Students are able to save where they are and return later without losing their progress.
“Think About It” was introduced to students five years ago. Temple’s Presidential Committee on Campus Sexual Misconduct added the course for upperclassmen this year because one program before freshman year “wasn’t enough,” Ives said.
In May 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced an investigation into Temple’s handling of sexual assault and harassment. Temple was one of five universities in Pennsylvania under investigation out of the 55 listed colleges and universities. Since April 2015, that number has increased to 106 colleges and universities.
Ives said the investigation is still ongoing.
“Think About It” does not collect any data other than students’ learning outcome, Ives added. It focuses on what questions students answer incorrectly and why.
“It helps inform us as to the effectiveness of the program,” she said.
She added if the program seems to be incapable of teaching students, the university would look into finding a different program and whether it needs to provide more resources toward support programs. Data gathered from past years have also influenced the university’s actions, she said.
“This is the most efficient way to reach 38,000 students on multiple campuses in different time zones,” Ives said.
Ives said she has received some mixed reviews of the program from students.
“I had one student tell me he was really glad to see this because he has sisters,” she said.
Ives has also been told by some older students, however, the program “doesn’t speak to them” based on their age. She added students also mentioned the program increased their stress because finals are approaching.
“Sexual violence is the most under reported crime, college campus or not,” Ives said. “To know it has happened and they didn’t report it or get support is devastating.”
Temple Student Government is also focusing its efforts on increasing awareness of campus resources for students, including collaborations with events like Take Back the Night and programs like the Wellness Resource Center.
“We’ve done things as students, and now we’re doing them as Temple Student Government,” said Binh Nguyen, TSG’s vice president of external affairs.
Nguyen added a major part of combating sexual misconduct is educating students about these current resources.
“The Wellness Resource Center isn’t in a very well known place,” she said. “The number one thing people want is resources.”
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.