At the beginning of the school year, every student is required to complete the Alcohol and Sexual Assault Prevention program that covers recognizing red flags of abuse in relationships, abuse tactics, various facets of sexual assault and how to respond if you think someone is in danger.
As an incoming junior, I’ve finished various online seminars put forth by the university regarding alcohol, drugs, sexual assault and other related issues. While these are informative the first time you take them, it’s not particularly beneficial besides being a recap after that.
Though a short online course doesn’t compare at all to having an actual conversation, it brings awareness to an important topic – especially as the university navigates the aftermath of allegedly violating Title IX in its handling of recent sexual assault cases.
K-State ASAP program uses the “Think About It” modules from Campus Clarity, which asks various questions about drinking and drug habits, in addition to walking through various scenarios that a student could experience.
The course has various options to improve accessibility; you can watch video instructions or have a text-only screen, which makes it easy to follow along regardless of your preference. In addition, it doesn’t use only heterosexual relationships as examples and makes the scenarios as realistic as possible.
While the course does give clear examples of red flags of physical abuse, consent, coercion and assault, I think it could do a lot more to cover signs of emotional abuse and how to handle it.
The ASAP training could be valuable if a person hasn’t learned any of this material previously, and the module does offer plenty of supplemental readings and information for those interested.
The course seemed very similar to the one I took last year, which could make it trickier for students to gain more from the program as they take it multiple times throughout their college career if it’s similar for everyone. Additionally, it very easy to skip through the information without reading it if you’re not interested in engaging with it, which I’m sure many students aren’t.
Online modules are a decent way to introduce incoming freshmen to issues they may not have dealt with in high school, but ultimately can’t replace an actual conversation about functional and healthy relationships.
Many student groups have different ways to educate their students, but I think the university itself needs to be more proactive about tackling issues related to alcohol, consent and sexual assault than just requiring students to take a brief online course. It’s not easy to educate everyone in person, but it’s important enough that it needs to be done.