As a part of the URI 101 curriculum, all freshmen are now required to receive a certificate for completing a Title IX quiz in order to learn about discrimination on the basis of sex in education and the workplace.
According to the University of Rhode Island’s Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity’s website, Title IX is “a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on the sex (gender) of employees and students of educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance.”
As part of the URI 101 requirement, freshmen are required to participate in a Title IX course and complete an online module. At the successful completion of the module, students will receive a certificate affirming that they are Title IX certified and understand the material. The training is mandatory.
Assistant Director of the Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity Gerard Holder is also the deputy Title IX coordinator. His office has worked to establish the program throughout URI 101 courses.
“It’s the first time we’ve implemented it in the [URI] 101 curriculum,” Holder said. “It’s not the first time we’ve done it. The first time we requested students to take it we got a lackluster response. This is important at the University. It’s a part of our community and safety and it’s important that we understand domestic violence, assault, et cetera. It’s pretty comprehensive I would have to say.”
For students, the entire course takes about 30 minutes. Students also receive an overview of sexual assault awareness and bystander intervention in their URI 101 cirriculum, as well.
According to Holder, this is an important aspect of URI 101 for students to understand. It has been made for freshmen rather than higher grade levels in an effort to reinforce the topic throughout all of their years at URI. Holder believes that making students aware from the beginning of their time in college will help them better understand equal treatment during their academic careers.
“It’s about their personal safety,” Holder said. “We all need to be aware of what our personal safety is about and it comes in all shapes, sizes, forms. Everyone needs to know about their personal safety.”
Sophomore Kaylee Goyette serves as a URI 101 mentor and is using her role to help implement the program.
“I think this is a good thing,” Goyette said. “I kind of wish we did it [as freshmen]. I feel like if we had to go through it, although it might be time consuming, it’s good information to have at the very least. You’re going to learn about it anyways, so you might as well take in the information first by yourself and then have it explained by other people.”
Freshmen URI 101 Student Edeun Smith recently went through the Title IX presentation on sexual assault and prevention in her class. Smith believed that it helped the group of students as a whole, as well as herself individually.
“It was beneficial to the class as an eye-opener,” Smith said. “I had a presentation on it in high school, but I think this was beneficial for everyone in the class to learn about.”
Students are not the only ones that have to take a Title IX program. Faculty and staff are required to take the program in order to help make them aware of sexual assault prevention.
Holder believes in the power of this information, as well as how it may impact the future of students throughout Rhode Island and the entire country.
“It’s important all across the country that college students are aware of their personal safety,” Holder said. “If they had known some of this information maybe it would have saved someone and helped someone.”