As NIU welcomes new and returning students to campus for spring semester, the Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Education (AAEOE), is asking for assistance in ensuring that all new students and returning students complete the Student Sexual Misconduct Awareness and Prevention Training.
The training, which is mandated by both the state and federal government, helps to prepare students to navigate social and romantic situations that may be new to them. There are modules that teach how to be an active bystander, providing strategies and tools that can be used to safely intervene when a student sees behavior that negatively impacts fellow Huskies or others. It also provides students with basic knowledge of how to protect themselves and others from sexual misconduct and violence as well as the importance of sexual consent and resources to all students.
“Many new students are entering an environment that is very unfamiliar to them, and this training seeks to give them information that can help them build awareness of issues surrounding sexual misconduct and how to help themselves and others, said Rose M. J. Henton, director of coordinated education, training and outreach of AAEOE. Henton further stated, that “the training also serves as a reminder to returning students of their obligation as Huskies to ensure we all work to prevent sexual misconduct and become aware of the resources available.”
New and returning students received a message in their NIU email announcing that the module is available via Blackboard and must be completed as soon as possible and no later than February 15. The Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) is seeking support from across the university to encourage students to complete the requirement.
“Many students are at their most vulnerable during their first few weeks on campus, so we want to get this information into their hands as soon as possible,” says Allison Hurlburt, the program coordinator within AAEOE who oversees the new student training as well as Active Bystander Training. Hurlburt, joined NIU last spring after working as a sexual assault advocate for an agency in Iowa, where she worked closely with Title IX officials at Waldorf University.
As part of those efforts, the department has forged closer bonds with DeKalb-based Safe Passage, a domestic violence agency and rape crisis center. The agency now has advocates available 24-hours a day, seven days a week for the campus community to ensure that survivors receive the support and services they need no matter how long it has been since the violation.
In addition to providing students with sexual misconduct training, AAEOE also provides annual sexual misconduct training to all employees. The annual employee training is focused on sexual misconduct situations that may affect employees as well as state requirements. Susanne Logsdon, assistant director of education and training will launch this training through Blackboard on February 1, 2021. “The training reminds employees of their obligation to know the policies and report when they see sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment and retaliation happen,” said Logsdon. In addition, she stated, “the employee training is required by the state of Illinois and changes a bit each year depending on policy updates.” The state requires the names of employees who do not take the training be reported to the Office of Executive Inspector General each year.
“It’s our goal to ensure our campus community understands NIU policies as well as, the services and resources available to them and to remove some of the stigma that survivors of sexual violence often feel,” said Henton.