The University of New Mexico’s Mandatory Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training, is a sexual assault awareness program, which has reached approximately 15, 500 of UNM’s 25, 000+ students.
“That’s far better than we were expecting,” said Heather Cowan, UNM’s Title IX Coordinator. Cowan’s job is to assure the University is in compliance with federal guidelines.
The training is one part of a comprehensive response to a 2014 U.S. Department of Justice Investigation at the university. The DOJ had received multiple complaints from students alleging that UNM did not respond adequately to their reports of sexual assaults. The resulting 2016 DOJ Agreement requires the University to offer sexual assault awareness training to all students.
The training’s module is titled “The Grey Area” and is a 90-minute sexual assault awareness class featuring small group discussions to bring attention to the issue. It encourages students to be proactive and prepared for future encounters with sexual assault.
Cowan emphasized the extensive measures that UNM has taken to encourage students, more specifically, upperclassmen to sign-up for the Grey Area Training.
“We have done our best to get the word out to UNM students through flyers, posters, student emails, the UNM President’s weekly messages, social media, news stories, and have even talked about it with the deans and chairs of the departments on campus” Cowan said.
The outreach is working well, Cowan said.
“The Grey Area Training has had an amazing turnout,” she said. “Training classes have filled up and we are excited to see how many more students will be continuing to sign up for the available classes.”
UNM upperclassman Mark Mofran signed up for the training after receiving an email from the LoboRESPECT office telling him the Grey Area Training was a requirement for all university students.
“I saw the email, and thought I’d look more into the training itself, ” Mofran said. “I found the training to be very informative and interesting.”
The Grey Area Training is mandatory for all students in a degree seeking program which includes undergraduate, graduates and professional graduates who are enrolled in six hours or more, said Lisa Lindquist, Director of LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center. The training is also mandatory for branch campuses.
UNM is trying to encourage upperclassmen who did not take The Grey Area Training during New Student Orientation to have the training completed by no later than December this year, Cowan said.
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