All Linfield students must complete new online sexual misconduct training by Oct. 1

Students will be barred from registering for next term’s classes until they finish the course.


A screenshot from the online class

Meghan Mullaly, Staff Writer

Leer en español

In response to new Title IX regulations from the U.S. Department of Education, Linfield University is requiring all on-campus students, from both the McMinnville and Portland campuses, to complete online sexual misconduct prevention training by October 1. 

Those who fail to comply will be blocked from registering for January and spring term until the course is completed. 

For decades, Linfield has used the Consent Awareness Training Squad (CATS) program to educate students on university policies. This program consists of a group of peer leaders have been trained to effectively educate students about the underlying issues and knowledge of sexual assault. Students are required to participate in this program during their first semester at Linfield.

“Students get this training their first year, what if they don’t get it the rest of the years?” said Jeff Mackay, Linfield’s dean of students, in an interview with The Linfield Review. “How are we educating students on this important topic?”

Linfield created a sexual misconduct task force in June of 2020. This task force consisted of three faculty members, three students, and administrators, as well as an outside consultant from Title IX educators. 

“They were wonderful,” said Mackay. “With their help we put up a brand new Title IX, sexual misconduct, and relationship website.” 

During this process, conversations of how to educate students on Title IX and sexual misconduct prevention was of high interest. Student concerns of sexual misconduct also called for better education on this topic. 

In the 2020-2021 school year, all Linfield employees were required to take part in an online sexual harassment and misconduct training. Only select groups of students, such as athletes and resident assistants, were required to participate in similar training, while others were not.

“I am constantly looking for ways we can improve all of our campus programs. Whether that be student activities, residence life, or our sexual misconduct policies and procedures,” Mackay said. “If we feel strongly as an institution [about sexual misconduct prevention], then we need to require all students to take part in this training.” 

This particular course was tested by students over the summer and chosen due to its interactiveness and the ability for students to engage through user-controlled scenarios. 

“It puts students in situations that they may find themselves in and allows them to develop some of the skills they need to be an active bystander,” Mackay said.  

The course is available to all students on Blackboard under a class called “Create a safe and caring community – training for all students.” Completing this training on Blackboard gives the university the ability to see who has and who has not finished. 

In mid-October, Mackay will send a last-chance email to students that still have not completed the training. Those that still fail to comply will have their accounts put on hold, meaning they will not be eligible to register for January and spring term classes. 

“We are serious,” said Mackay. “This is important. To be a member of this community, this is something students need to do. . . and we will work with students through the process. I have the ability to quickly unblock students after they finish.”

The overarching goal of this training is to educate students on how to be an engaged and supportive member of the Linfield community, according to Mackay.

“I really do hope that it creates a sort of network of students that understand what being an active, engaged bystander is, and what they can do to support one another. When we do that, I think we are all a better community for it.” Mackay said. “I want students to be educated. This is an important subject for all of our students to be educated on–not just while they are Linfield students but beyond.”