The University of Nebraska-Lincoln clearly cares about its students’ safety.
Recently, the university sent out a video that students were strongly urged to watch pertaining to sexual assault awareness. The video, which is 45 minutes long, goes over scenarios of what is and isn’t sexual assault, how to report an assault and how to prevent it from happening.
Though we don’t doubt the university will take further steps to address sexual assault in the future, there has to be a better way to get the word out about awareness of sexual assault than a 45-minute long video sent to students in an email.
Our initial problem with the video itself.
It is ambitious to believe that students will watch a 45 minute video when they don’t have to.
Beyond the obvious fact that people should watch the video, there is no incentive to watching it. Nothing bad comes of not watching the video. In Franco’s email, it simply says “complying with the University’s expectation that you complete the online program is important.” But beyond that, nothing happens if a student doesn’t watch the video.
We believe there should be some sort of consequence for not watching it. For example, students should have to watch the video before being allowed to register for classes, or buying books. You can’t register for classes if you have a parking ticket. The same sentiment should be held if you haven’t been educated about sexual assault.
Without some sort of consequence or incentive, we don't think students will watch a 45 minute video just because the University urges them to.
A mandated viewing of the video is a good first step, but it should not be looked at as the saving grace. It should be looked at as the beginning of a conversation.
In addition, we believe there are better, additional ways to reach the student body at large to educate people about sexual assault.
The Bob Devaney Sports Center holds 13,595 people. Pinnacle Bank Arena holds 15,147. Why not bring in a speaker, or a group of speakers, and require students to go before they can register for classes, or buy student tickets to football games? Or host an open forum or speaker to talk about issues specific to UNL and to college students
Another alternative could be offering a zero or one credit hour class that all freshman are required to attend about sexual assault. The College of Journalism and Mass Communications requires all freshman students to attend a class called the Freshman Experience. UNL could offer a similar course, for all freshman to attend, where there could be a presentation about sexual assault.
The bottom line is this: we hope this video isn’t the university’s only, or main, solution to stopping sexual assault on campus. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of 106 universities around the country under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for a possible Title IX Investigation. Just the other week, a student sexually assaulted another student on campus in a dorm.
The video is a proactive first step. But we need more if something truly is to change.