Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

    Upperclassmen discuss healthy sex

    Keynote speakers for the event ‘Mandatory Title IX trainin’, Oronde Cruger and Melina Flinck taking the crowds opinion , at Wallenburg on October 9th, 2019.

    In the past, Augustana students were required to complete an annual online Title IX training course to prevent sexual violence. This year, juniors and seniors were offered alternative options.

    Instead of completing the online course, upperclassmen could attend one of two in-person training sessions facilitated by Speak About It.

    According to their website, Speak About It’s goal is “To promote awareness of healthy sexual choices, advocate consent and strive to prevent sexual violence through inclusive performance-based education, discussion facilitation, and provision of resources.”

    Each session lasted approximately 90 minutes and the first, Party Safer, took place on Tuesday, Oct. 8; the second, Continuing the Conversation was held on Symposium Day, Wednesday, Oct. 9.

    According to an email from the Dean of Students Office, one reason the college decided to offer other options was due to the vendor, who provides the online training course, was making no updates to the program.

    “Most institutions continue to use online training modules as their primary method to comply with state regulations,” Associate Dean and Title IX Coordinator, Laura Schnack said in an email. “We are seeing an emerging trend in supplementing these trainings with in-person trainings and because we want to be at the forefront of providing the best resources, we decided to also introduce in-person trainings.”

    Senior Catherine Priebe attended Continuing the Conversation.

    “I thought the change was really exciting,” Priebe said. “ I think students are not just checking off a box anymore and [they’re] not getting through it as fast as you can. In person you’re talking to actual people and learning from each other.”

    That was the intentions for these sessions. “In-person training is more effective for some students to apply and retain information,” Schnack said in an email. “The facilitators from Speak About It encouraged the environment to be structured in a way that allows authentic and open dialogue amongst the student body.”

    Reflecting on her experience, Priebe said, “I really like how they focused on how it revolved around Augustana’s student life. When it was a closed session, people had the time and space to really reflect and share. Online training was pretty general and never focused strictly on Augustana.”

    “It is our hope that in continuing to provide opportunities for the student body to engage in dialogue around these important topics, students will feel empowered and equipped to work at dismantling the underlying societal norms that allow interpersonal violence to occur not just on campus but in our global society,” Schnack said. “As with colleges and universities across the nation, Augustana College is not immune to the culture and community standards in which interpersonal violence occurs.”

    Priebe believed that these discussions were a good start to growing the conversation about sexual health, but it’s not perfect.

    “I feel like that [when] we start these conversations we can talk more and get comfortable,” Priebe said. “Just continuing this trend of in person face to face and [not only conversations] pertaining to Augustana College but giving resources is also important.”

    Natalie McMillan and Jordan Cone contributed to this article

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    Upperclassmen discuss healthy sex