New graduate students at Cal have many opportunities to learn about how to have safe and healthy relationships. Last summer, all incoming graduate students received an email from Graduate Dean Doyle, articulating expectations around the prevention of sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH). New students were required to complete an online education module that explores these concepts and campus resources. Upon their arrival to campus, many new graduate students attended an hour-long, in-person presentation during New Graduate Student Orientation (NGSO).

New methods of presenting the in-person training this year have enabled students to engage with the material in more meaningful ways. Notably, about 15 colleges and departments worked with the PATH to Care Center to offer the in-person training within their departments. Staff and returning students in these departments who were interested in facilitating a presentation attended a day-long training.

Niki Severson, one of the facilitators, is a second year master’s student in the School of Social Welfare. She says, “I think the trainings within the departments were more impactful because they’re more intimate. The information is coming from people within the graduate programs who either know the students or will know the students.” Severson says that incorporating violence prevention training into department orientations helps students interact with the material in a more meaningful way. “It feels like the students are more engaged when it’s their own department demonstrating a commitment to their individual safety and well-being.”

Of the 3,200 incoming graduate students in Fall 2016, about 1,300 met their violence prevention training requirement through such a presentation within their department’s orientation. Another 1,400 met the requirement through sessions held at NGSO. The remaining students are scheduled to receive the training in the coming weeks.

Coordinating mandatory training of 3,200 students is no small task. The successful implementation of this project is thanks largely to the strong partnership between the PATH to Care Center, the Graduate Division, and the Graduate Assembly. None of us can end sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, and stalking on our own. However, through partnerships and shared commitments, we can create the culture change necessary to make Cal safe and welcoming for everyone.

If you are interested in providing feedback or ideas regarding violence prevention education, or if you would like your department to host this training next year, please email the Path to Care Center.