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Students required to complete new sexual, gender-based violence, alcohol abuse prevention modules

Requirement result of new federal education stipulations

University President Teresa Sullivan recently announced a new requirement for all students to complete two online educational modules — one on sexual and gender-based violence and another on alcohol abuse prevention — for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year.

In an email sent to all University students, Sullivan offered a brief description of each module and its purpose in fulfilling a federal requirement to provide training on such topics.

“The first module is designed to educate you [students] on conduct prohibited by the University's Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence, and inform you of ways in which we all can serve as active bystanders and community leaders in preventing harassment and violence in our community,” Sullivan said in her email.

The second module on alcohol abuse prevention, known as “Alcohol-Wise,” has been a requirement for all first-year students since its introduction to the University in 2008.

“The ‘Alcohol-Wise’ module helps clarify personal choices about drinking habits and attitudes, and it shows how alcohol use is related to negative consequences. Alcohol-Wise is tailored for each user and provides access to self-referral tools and University resources,” Sullivan said.

Gordie Center Director Susan Bruce said “Alcohol-Wise” is a valuable tool for students to understand drinking habits and encourage safe behavior.

“There are a number of issues around alcohol, from minor things like sending a text that you regret, to serious injuries,” Bruce said. “Alcohol-Wise” is focused on reducing harm. Plus, there are parts to the program that complement federal requirements, for instance talking about bystander intervention.”

Bruce said all students are required to take the “Alcohol-Wise” program this year in part because of the new updated look and content it provides, and in part because of its complementary nature to the sexual violence module, which has never been used before at the University.

“All students could benefit from completing the ‘Alcohol-Wise’ in addition to the federal requirement on sexual violence,” Bruce said. “We want to make sure that all students are equipped with that basic information and we want to help students know what the social norms are at U.Va.”

Associate Dean of Students Nicole Eramo, the University’s deputy Title IX coordinator for students, said the sexual and gender-based violence module is focused on prevention and provides students with information about the options and resources available to them on Grounds.

“It will provide students with a better understanding of what constitutes sexual and gender-based violence, what the institution expects regarding behavior and how, as a community, we seek to support survivors and work toward ending violence on our grounds,” Eramo said in an email.

The University adopted the module after federal requirements for universities to train faculty and students on sexual violence changed in the past year.

“There are new educational requirements embedded in the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, most often referred to as Campus SaVE, an update of the Jeanne Clery Act passed by Congress last year,” Eramo said.

The Campus SaVE Act is an addition to the Clery Act — established in the early 1990s — which expands the scope of legislation regarding reporting, responses and prevention education requirements around rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. To comply with the Campus SaVE Act, the University is required to provide a more in-depth description of legal processes and resources than it has before, to both students and faculty.

If students do not comply with the new requirements and fail to complete both or either of the educational modules, Eramo said their access to certain University tools such as NetBadge will be lost.