Published On: Fri, Sep 19th, 2014

Clemson University stops mandatory ‘sex survey’ after backlash

Clemson University suspended a controversial “online Title IX training program” after the details of intrusive sexual questions were revealed. Students complained and the “survey” made national headlines.

Students as the South Carolina were asked to to answer questions about how many times they had sex in the past three months and with how many people. Students were also asked about their drinking habits and affiliation with Greek life and athletics. Although students were told their responses would be anonymous, buthad to use their university IDs to log into the training, according the report by Campus Reform.

The "Sex Survey" at Clemson University makes Planned Parenthood's  condom turkey look lame

The “Sex Survey” at Clemson University makes Planned Parenthood’s condom turkey look lame

Completion of the entire training was mandatory for students and faculty.

Described as a training program, the intent was to prepare students for college by “focusing on minimizing the risks associated with alcohol, drugs and sexual violence,”  and was created by CampusClarity. On its blog, the company writes about the importance of training students in sexual assault and substance abuse together, pointing to the high percentage of survivors and assailants who were drinking during assaults.

“Required Title IX online training has been suspended pending elimination of certain questions that were associated with a training module provided by a third-party vendor,” the email, sent at 11:42 p.m., said. “Clemson University will eliminate these questions. We apologize for any concern and inconvenience this has caused.”

In a call with The Huffington Post, CampusClarity said that in its three years of administering the program, complaints about the personal history questions didn’t arise until this year. Three schools have voiced concerns this year out of the 190 using the program, and CampusClarity is working with them to amend the training.

CampusClarity’s privacy policy notes that while student responses to the behavioral questions are recorded, their names and IDs are not connected to that information. The information is aggregated into a report for school administrators so they can get a sense of behavior on campus and find high-risk groups. CampusClarity told HuffPost it plans to add an option next year for students to decline to answer personal background questions.

“It’s a great first step forward, but not a complete victory since they’re only planning on eliminating certain questions from the invasive program,” Austin Pendergist, a junior political science and Spanish major, told Campus Reform. “We need to eliminate the entire ‘mandatory’ program altogether since there is nothing in the Campus SaVE Act that requires a mandatory program to be completed by all students and faculty, but rather it only requires that programs be available, not mandated, for faculty and new students.”

Other universities using the survey may respond as well to allow for an opt-out.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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