A mandatory online course for students at the University of California (USC) orders them to disclose how many sexual partners they’ve had and other personal details about their sexual history.
The online course, titled “Think About It,” was created by the group Campus Clarity and is used by USC to educate students on sexual assault and thereby comply with federal guidelines regarding Title IX.
All students are required to complete the online course by Feb. 16, or else they won’t be allowed to register for classes.
“We believe you’ll enjoy the assignment, and that this training is in line with our shared belief that Trojans care for Trojans,” USC’s Title IX coordinator Keegan Allee says in her email to USC students regarding the assigned course.
But USC students told Campus Reform that the course is full of extremely personal questions. The course begins by having students fill out a questionnaire, which includes questions like “With how many different people have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?” and “If you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months, how many times had you been drinking alcohol?”
“It was just full of super personal questions,” student Jacob Ellenhorn complained to Campus Reform. Ellenhorn also found the course’s lessons on sexual assault to be questionable. He said that the course emphasized that drunk people cannot consent to sex (legally, they can), but then showed a scenario where two drunk people had sex, but only the man was considered to have committed sexual assault.
The demand that students disclose their entire sexual history is ironic, because advocates for sexual assault victims often argue that sexual history should be entirely irrelevant in sexual assault cases. In most of the U.S., so-called “rape shield” laws make it illegal for defendants in rape cases to cite the accuser’s sexual history as evidence.
The intrusive questions in a mandatory course can at least partly be traced to federal policy. Recently, the Obama administration has ramped up pressure on colleges to fight sexual assault, as the government has started investigating schools for creating a “hostile environment” if they are regarded as insufficiently committed towards checking sexual assault on campus. The stakes are high, as schools found in violation of Title IX can lose all of their federal funding.
Update: USC sent a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation apologizing for the questions.
“USC apologizes for any offense or discomfort caused by optional questions included as part of a mandatory on-line training for students on sexual consent, misconduct and other important issues,” said USC vice president for administration Todd Dickey. “These questions have been removed from our online-training module.” Dickey said the questions were part of a standardized module used around the country.
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