Cayla Bush/Editor in Chief
The Dean of Students’ Office has implemented mandatory training to address sexual assault and harassment.
The office uses Haven, an online sexual assault awareness program, to teach students about the University’s codes concerning sexual assault, as well as related terminology and state laws. The topics covered in the hour-long session include stalking, harassment, rape and other topics under the same umbrella.
Khatkhate, the administrative coordinator for the Dean of Students’ Office, says the program was implemented online to get more students to be able to take the training at once and to allow online students to take it when out of the state.
“This spring, we made it a requirement for all incoming students from now on. So, any incoming student will have it as a requirement on their to-do list and if they don’t complete it by a certain date they’ll have a hold on their account and not be able to register for classes,” Khatkhate told Student Media.
Khatkhate says that though there are no plans to make it mandatory for previously admitted students, there are still opportunities for students to get educated.
“We have ongoing educational things, like the Women’s Center has month-long programming for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Depending on what they’re involved with, athletes are required to do the program from the start, as well as residents, Peer Advisors and Panther Camp facilitators.”
Students who were not involved in an extracurricular activity that required the training can go to programming for education, but there is no backlogging to make it a requirement. The Haven training program is also available through my.fiu.edu.
The implementation of the mandatory training is part of what Khatkhate says is the education and prevention plan from the Dean of Students Office.
“We do more of a prevention and teaching students what sexual assault is, the state laws, [University] policies, whereas CAPS does more advocacy and empowerment so it’s very different structures,” she says.
Part of the training includes bystander intervention techniques, which inform students of ways to step in and help out when necessary.
“[Bystander intervention] creates a community with students who kind of look out for each other and help out. So, if they see something at a party or anything like that, how to step in and stop a situation that could get more rough down the line,” Khatkhate says.
According to the Student Affairs website, Haven seeks to educate about these issues “during college and beyond.” This, Khatkhate says, is because the training can be utilized at any point in life.
“The average age of the one in five statistic is 18 to 24, so sometimes those women may be out of college. These situations can happen outside of college. In most cases, the perpetrator is someone that you know, so you can be in many different situations where someone you know can have that kind of affect on you.”
Khatkhate says that students who wish to get involved in educating about sexual harassment, relationship violence or stalking should seek to get involved with Counseling and Psychological Services, located in SHC 270.
Image retrieved from Flickr.