Title IX Office Begins Third-Year Consent Training

Starting this November, the Title IX office and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will be holding mandatory consent training sessions for all third-years. While the College already requires consent training for new students, this is the first year that it is also required for returning students. 

The new workshop, called Consent 301, was piloted as an optional workshop during Consent Month programming in April. According to Title IX Coordinator Rebecca Mosely, the course will help third-years learn about navigating consent in changing positions of power in relation to younger students on campus. 

“We’ve been training the people who don’t have the power on campus, and then we haven’t been doing as much with those folks once they get into those positions,” Mosely said. “The twist on it is to think about it from the perspective of the person who’s in that power position versus the position of the first-year who’s new to campus.”

College fourth-year and Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct trainer Chase Sortor helped design the new program and emphasized the focus on power dynamics in the course. He specifically mentioned that the program will focus on teaching students to hold both themselves and their peers accountable.

“Everyone who is in any position of power or authority should know how to hold themselves and act appropriately,” Sortor said. “And then, I think, it becomes your responsibility to hold others accountable.”

Sortor also spoke about his role as a leader in student athletics. Last year, as captain of the men’s cross country team, he led workshops surrounding consent in athletics. He said that the importance of being a respected figure on a sports team and leading by example sparked his interest in educating future classes about the importance of consent.

“Being in that role, I ran into situations where I was like, ‘Okay, nobody else is gonna say something, so it’s actually in fact my job now,’ and I want everyone else to feel capable of doing those things,” Sortor said. 

Sortor said that the program will specifically review factors of consent and barriers to consent from Consent 101. According to College third-year PRSM trainer and Survivors of Sexual Harm and Allies Officer Margo Lee, the workshops will also provide a review and check-in surrounding the topics covered in new student consent training and provide students the opportunity to reflect on their engagement with the material from that training. 

“[It’s] not only a check-in on ‘Do you remember the basics of consent and bystander intervention?’ but also, ‘Are you actively practicing what you learned? Are you having those conversations about consent and boundaries and are you practicing what you learned in bystander intervention to be a good friend and a good community member?’” Lee said.

According to Sortor, the effort to introduce the new program was spearheaded by Mosely, Maddie Van Houten, OC ’22, and Maggie Crain, OC ’22. Van Houten and Crain were PRSM trainers last year, and Sortor shared that one of their major goals had been to establish a program for third-year students before they graduated. According to Mosely, while not federally mandated like new student training is, it is considered best practice to provide consent training again in students’ third year. 

In an email to the third-year class, Suzanne Denneen, program coordinator for the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, wrote that half of the third-years will complete their training in the fall semester, while the other half will complete it in the spring. The class will be divided based on T-numbers, with even-numbered students being trained this fall and odd numbers in the spring. Mosely said that students in the spring cohort who will be abroad next semester will be permitted to attend a fall workshop instead or defer their training until the fall semester of their fourth year. As with new student consent training, individual sessions will be offered in addition to group workshops. 

“We’re just really excited about this and we hope students will embrace it in the way that Obies always do around things that are intended to make campus a safer and more just space,” Mosely said.