In light of uncertainty
about when the mandatory sexual assault prevention training will be held, given that it was planned
for early spring semester, Dean of Students David Tinagero has clarified the program's timeline.
“Shortly after Spring Break, all NYU Abu Dhabi students will receive [this] mandatory training on sexual misconduct,” Tinagero confirmed.
Tinagero said that despite delays — partly attributed to lag in policy implementation in New York — and confusion about what a sexual misconduct policy would look like at NYUAD, training is a high priority for the university. Tinagero said that he has been working on details for training aimed at educating community members and preventing sexual misconduct, dating violence and stalking.
For NYU New York students, this training would take place through a similar channel as AlcoholEdu — an online platform that educates students about alcohol use in New York – that was also implemented this year at NYUAD in light of the fact that many students study abroad and may have exposure to alcohol over the course of their university experience.
“Feedback from students encouraged us to consider an Alcohol Education program for our incoming students and for our pilot year, we decided to use the program NYUNY students use,” said Tinagero.
He suggested that the training on sexual misconduct might be implemented in similar ways to AlcoholEdu. In previous correspondence with The Gazelle, Tinagero mentioned that the trainings would be in-person to cater to specific students’ needs and that NYUAD was in a position to do this because of its small student body size. This approach is in line with the university-wide email Tinagero sent when mandatory training was first announced on 26 Nov. last year.
“Students who were uncomfortable with [AlcoholEdu] for religious reasons were encouraged to meet with Mary Barnes, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of First Year Programming, and were able to opt out on a case-by-case basis,” Tinagero mentioned. “As in any pilot program, we learned a great deal from the experience.”
In addition to this mandatory training, Associate Director of Mental Health Promotion and Sexual Misconduct Support Services Tina Wadhwa has been conducting workshops that Tinagero said provide students with an informal space to discuss issues and pose questions related to consent.
While attendance for these latter trainings and workshops is voluntary, those who go are given priority to become Candidate Weekend ambassadors, Marhaba Leaders and RAs, as seen on flyers in the past advertising such positions.
“Receiving such a training can equip students in leaderships positions — such as RAs and Marhaba Leaders — with strategies and the confidence to respond to a wide range of student problems or concern," said Tinagero.
In addition to such non-compulsory training workshops, which are open to the entire NYUAD community, Wadhwa has and will continue to conduct faculty and staff presentations on sexual misconduct policy over the course of this semester. These sessions instruct university employees on how they should support students who disclose that sexual misconduct has occurred.
A student who wished to remain anonymous commented that a faculty member recently had to report a case of sexual misconduct that the student had mentioned, after the faculty member found out that reporting was the correct and necessary protocol.
“While I was surprised that my case – that I had long forgotten about, and absolutely did not want to follow through – was reported; the conversation I had with NYU’s Title IX coordinator was very clarifying [on] my rights,” said the student. “I am sure that with this information will help me support students who might be considering reporting an incident of sexual misconduct.”
In addition to increased transparency regarding policies and available resources, the university has hired new Health and Wellness employees with the aim of promoting and bolstering a safe and healthy environment.
“We have new Executive Director Dr. Halah Ibrahim joining us this week. Additionally Dr. Malik joined us in November, and I am pleased to say that we currently have two full times counselors providing support to students on campus,” Tinagero said.
Melinda Szekeres is news editor. Email her at email@example.com.