Hey, Curious Campus: Why doesn’t UT have more comprehensive sex ed resources?

Libby Cohen

Every UT student completes the sexual assault awareness modules and attends the consent theater performance at orientation. After that, UT does not provide any further mandatory sexual education requirements.

So, when one of our readers asked us, “Why doesn’t UT have more comprehensive sex-ed resources besides the EverFi course that freshmen take?” we looked into it as part of Curious Campus, a series where we answer reader-submitted questions. 

Kathryn Redd, associate director for prevention and outreach for the Counseling and Mental Health Center, said EverFi is the sexual education and assault prevention modules that incoming students must complete before classes. 

“Incoming students experience the sexual assault prevention for undergraduate modules, which is online comprehensive information and education about consent, sexual violence prevention and resources that are also available on campus,” Redd said. 

Along with EverFi, UT has organizations such as Voices Against Violence that run campaigns during sexual violence awareness month and perform interactive dialogues. Redd said other educational resources regarding sexual violence are provided when requested. 

“The trainings that we do for sexual violence prevention are on an as-requested basis so we go into student orgs, classrooms, fraternities and sororities,” Redd said. “A small team can’t reach 250,000 students, so we work with our campus partners so that our message can get spread as far and wide as possible.”

One of the platform points that former student body president Colton Becker ran on during the last Student Government election was the increased presence of sexual assault awareness. Becker said he noticed the modules and performances were not enough to start conversations on campus. 

“Right now, the University offers online modules that most students just click through as fast as they can without really understanding the information,” Becker said. “(With) all of this information that they are being bombarded with, they aren’t in the position to fully understand some of the issues that encompass the gray areas of interpersonal violence, including consent.” 

To increase the conversation to all UT students, Becker’s administration started an initiative to train First-Year Interest Group and Transfer-Year Interest Group leaders this spring to take to their classes starting in fall 2019. Trainings include different resources from Not On My Campus, a sexual violence prevention and education organization. 

UT also provides general sexual education resources for students at the Longhorn Wellness Center. Katherine Protil, health promotion coordinator for the wellness center, said four or more students can request Anatomy and Contraception or STIs and Communication workshops. In addition, the center works with the Gender and Sexuality Office to reach all students.

“We work closely with Gender and Sexuality Center to include the LGBTQ community for comprehensive sexual education campaigns and education,” Protil said. 

This fall, FIG and TrIG students will experience the increase in sexual assault education pushed by Becker. 

“Sexual assault is unacceptable, period,” Becker said. “The University has a responsibility to its students to provide resources and information in the interest of curving sexual assault.”