RED ZONE: Mandatory sex discrimination training due on Halloween

On Oct. 31, UAA students will face a scarier prospect than the ghosts and gore of Halloween. What is it? It’s a hold on their account.

Degree-seeking, residential and national/international exchange students are required to complete the mandatory Title IX: Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination Prevention training by the end of the month. Students who don’t complete the training will be prevented from registering for spring semester courses with a hold on their account.

Even scarier than the prospect of an account hold is the topic of sexual assault on campus. Dean of Students, Ben Morton, has worked in student conduct for the majority of his career, and he said one sexual assault is one too many. In September, Morton sent an email to the 12,000 students who had not yet completed the training to inform them it was mandatory.

“This is mandatory, right, it says that holds could be put on people’s accounts, and I didn’t want anybody to learn about that last minute… I think it’s important to make sure students know about this expectation,” Morton said.

Morton said he hopes the training makes UAA a “stronger community” that knows how to “report and support.”

“I think over time people understand why the university is doing what it’s doing,” Morton said. “Everyone wants a safe campus community, right? Everyone wants an informed campus. Nobody — even the people who’ve called me to say they were unhappy about it being mandatory — nobody has said, ‘No, I don’t care about how safe campus is.’”

Two of the previous institutions Morton worked at also had mandatory sex discrimination training.

“People have said to me, ‘I know because I took the training that I didn’t give consent. I know what consent is and this wasn’t it. I know I was intoxicated, and I know I can’t give consent when I was intoxicated,’” Morton said.

A screenshot of the main menu of the training.

Prevention and Education Coordinator for the office of Equity and Compliance, Bridget Coffou, said the training informs students of their rights.

“I think that Haven [Training] is a really great place for us to start and it’s a really great way to launch into continuing conversations,” Coffou said. “It’s online so you can go at your own pace… I also think it’s important for students to know that — if for whatever reason they’re uncomfortable with the training or they have past experiences that deal with this type of violence — there are resources for them and there are ways that we can work with them so that they are still getting this information without having to relive past trauma.”

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Bruce Schultz said students who complete the training will automatically be entered into a drawing to win prizes varying from $1,000 UAA Chancellor’s Scholarships to Alaska Airlines tickets. Students are encouraged to complete the training as soon as possible to be entered in for prizes. The upcoming drawings are as follows:

Oct. 6

  • Two students and three of their friends who have completed the training receive Super Priority Registration (November 9)
  • Two students receive $1,000 UAA Chancellor’s Scholarship
  • One Alaska Airlines Ticket – good for anywhere Alaska Airlines flies (not including Cuba)

Oct. 13, 20

  • Two students and three of their friends who have completed the training receive Super Priority Registration (November 9)
  • Two students receive $1,000 UAA Chancellor’s Scholarship

Nov. 1

  • Two students and three of their friends receive Super Priority Registration
  • Two students receive $1,000 UAA Chancellor’s Scholarship
  • One Alaska Airlines Ticket – good for anywhere Alaska Airlines flies (not including Cuba)

Schultz said the account holds will be automatically placed on accounts, but that students only have to take the training to remove the hold.

“Registration holds will be placed within a day or two of the October 31 deadline,” Schultz wrote in an email. “A registration hold will be lifted once the student completes the online training; the hold lift process will run automatically a few times each day; however, it is not done instantaneously.”

In Oct. 2016, former Chancellor Tom Case announced via email that sexual discrimination training would be mandatory. At that time, former USUAA Vice President Johanna Richter and President Sam Erickson had no details on how the training would be enforced by the Nov. 23 deadline.