Do We Really Need Title IX Training Every Year?

It’s fall, which means school is in full swing, and the leaves are beginning to fall off of the trees. Everyone is beginning to feel comfortable in their schedules and are gearing up for the projects that are bound to be due in October.

With the start of the new school year comes something that many of my friends have admitted to ignoring: an email from Millikin asking students to participate in Title IX training.

President White greets you with a standard overview of what you’re about to learn: “Millikin University is committed to providing a campus culture that is free from sex discrimination misconduct of all forms, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual favoritism, or other verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct is unlawful and will not be tolerated. It is up to all of us to do our part to stop unlawful discrimination and sexual violence in our community.”

For those of you who don’t know, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 reads as follows: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Title IX also protects against gender discrimination and applies to all genders and sexes. So yes, this law also protects people who identify as men from any kind of gender or sex-based discrimination. Surprise. Of course, you would know all of this if you watched the slideshow, wouldn’t you?

Now that you know what Title IX is, why do you need Millikin to show you a slideshow each year? That’s an easy question to answer: it’s better to show someone something multiple times and have them understand it each time than to show them once and have them misunderstand.

Also, is watching a slideshow about sexual discrimination really taking that much time out of your day? It is ten minutes of something you should already know, and if you do not, then you should definitely watch the whole thing. Is it really that torturous? It is easy, it’s not time-consuming, and it’s educational, so why are people so annoyed?

I suppose that many of you are probably thinking that you know the basics of consent, right? Or that you know how not to discriminate against someone based on sex or gender.

It may be easy for you because you are a decent person. So you don’t need to be told over and over again what constitutes as sex or gender-based discrimination. You know what you are doing.

You might identify as a feminist or something similar, which always means that you can’t be sexist or a rapist, right? Wrong.

Despite your best intentions, we live in an inherently sexist society. Some unhealthy and/or sexist tendencies and actions take a while to unlearn, and what better way to unlearn them by looking at a university-provided slideshow?

But, if you’ve already seen the slideshow once, that must mean you know how not to be a sexist or rapist.

Well, guess what. The university doesn’t know that.

There’s not some test that people can take to make sure they’re not a rapist or a sexist. And, believe it or not, they’re not usually too easy to spot.

A rapist or a sexist could literally be anyone. So wouldn’t it be better to inform those who may not know that their actions are harmful and reteach some of you the same thing than to run the possibility of someone being uneducated on the subject?

Long story short, it’s better safe than sorry.

So, for those of you complaining about the Title IX training, count yourselves lucky. You know the steps to take to be safe, you know about consent. The university is trying to make sure that every student is aware of consent and what counts as discrimination. We should be thankful for that.