Online modules educate on sexual harassment

New modules developed by the Human Rights Office available for Queen’s community and other universities

The Human Rights Office at Queen’s recently released a sexual harassment module designed to educate staff, students and faculty for prevention in the workplace.

The program is comprised of three modules, each of which is designed to educate and test the user on how to identify and prevent sexual harassment in a university setting.

Participants are required to attain a score of 90 per cent or above in order to qualify for a certificate of achievement.

“‘Is the situation sexual harassment?’ ‘What are peoples’ responsibilities?’ — that’s the quiz part,” Margot Coulter, the sexual harassment prevention coordinator at the Office, said. “We set the bar pretty high at the 90 per cent level. You have to really pay attention and take in the material.”

The first module sets a base definition and provides basic information about what sexual harassment is. It also cover the laws surrounding it and the individual’s duty to prevent harassment from occurring.

Once this foundation is established, the module takes the user through a variety of case studies involving sexual harassment. They range from a professor-student issue in a classroom to a personal relationship dynamic.

While the program will be available for free to all students, staff and faculty at Queen’s, it’s also being sold to other institutions.

“An institution will pay $500 once and they can use it however they want to,” Coulter said, adding that the program isn’t designed to be a money-making venture.

For members of the Queen’s community, the modules can be accessed on the website of the Human Rights Office.

While sexual harassment forms only one of the many human rights issues on campus that are addressed, the Human Rights Office felt that it was important to address this particular violation comprehensively.

“In terms of issues on campus, it seems to be the most often reported violation of human rights,” Coulter said.

The Office generally tailors their individual human rights training sessions to the particular groups they’re presenting to.

“We don’t have a package that works for everybody. This module is the best way to say that it works in all situations,” Coulter said.

Coulter explained that it was a project that was in the works for over 15 years.

“I’ve been doing this work for 20 years. I drew on a lot of my experience,” she said. “A lot of the experience is from situations we’ve heard about in other institutions and things that have happened here to make it relevant to our population.”

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