The University of Southern California has caused quite a stir this week with the introduction of a controversial Title IX training course. All students must complete the online course before they are allowed to register for classes this semester. The controversy stems from a deeply personal questionnaire the students must complete that asks detailed questions about their sexual history.
For anyone that doesn’t know, Title IX is a law that’s been around since 1972 that was implemented to prevent discrimination against women in education and school-related extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs. The connection between the Title IX legislation and this sex lesson is tenuous.
Making sure students are knowledgeable about sexual consent and responsible encounters is a great idea, especially when many schools across the country don’t teach kids about safe sex at all. But this course seems to really cross the line. The questionnaire is extremely invasive and serves no real purpose (that we can tell at least) other than potentially embarrassing students. Why does an educational institution need to know how often its students are engaging in sexual activity? Quite simply, it doesn’t.
The goal of the course is purportedly to make students feel safer and more comfortable on campus, but in practice, it is doing the opposite. Asking students to divulge such private information to the school is more likely to make students uncomfortable and distrustful of the administration.
Students are speaking out against this new requirement, and it is now up to the University to either apologize or find a way to defend the unorthodox course.