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U of M creates mandatory sexual assault course

The University of Memphis’ Office for Institutional Equity and Title IX Prevention Center requires all currently enrolled students to complete a sexual assault prevention course.

The course is designed to help students navigate and promote healthy relationships, understand the policies of the university and prevent misconduct of any kind. All students must complete the course by Sept. 6.

Abby Kindervater, U of M Title IX prevention specialist, said it is important for students to know about sexual assault awareness and prevention.

“We want our students to have a shared understanding of our policies, procedures and our reporting options,” Kindervater said. “We thought this could be a universal training course for Title IX that would be helpful for students.”

Kindervater described the assessment as an online training course that provides different scenarios relevant to real-life situations, such as interpersonal relationships, and feedback on how to handle those situations.

“Our ultimate goal is to reduce interpersonal violence from our campus and having our students know what our expectations are,” Kindervater said. “Our goal is that as many students as possible take this course and learn from this course and that it will help them be more informed on these issues.”

Addie James, director of marketing and public relations for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Coalition (SAPAC), works to educate students on different aspects of sexual assault.

“SAPAC is a one-stop shop for everything you need to know as far as prevention and awareness goes,” James said. “We are an official registered student organization working with the Title IX Prevention Office.”

James approves the new course because it educates different people based on what they need. Incoming freshmen are given a different version of the course than returning students have.

“I think it’s important,” James said. “You may not be affected by sexual assault or harassment yourself, but I guarantee you know someone who has, or you will get in a situation where you will need those resources.”

Freshman art major Brynn Myers said although the course helps some students, most don’t take advantage of the resources it provides.

“I think it’s beneficial if the student cared enough to read the information,” Myers said. “I think it’s good that they provide the course at least or force you to do it, but I think the majority of kids don’t care, don’t take it, don’t think anything about it, probably don’t get involved and move on with their day.” 

For anyone in the Memphis area wanting to talk with someone about a sexual assault, the Rape Crisis Center is available at 901-222-4350. U of M Police Services is also available at 901-678-4357.

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