Time to re-up your expertise on discrimination, harassment

What should you do if a student confides he or she has been sexually assaulted?

When does a hostile environment in a university office become unlawfully hostile?

Iowa State employees should know the answers to these kinds of questions well before they're needed, said equal opportunity director Margo Foreman.  That's why faculty and staff must complete training on discrimination, sexual violence and harassment every two years.

This is a training year and all employees who have not completed training in the last two years should have received email invitations to their personal online accounts in late April.

Everyone is asked to complete two courses -- "Preventing Discrimination and Sexual Violence" and “Unlawful Harassment Prevention" by Aug. 31. Supervisors also must complete a third, supplementary course on unlawful harassment prevention.

It's preventative, educational

"The university wants to ensure that everyone stays on top of these topics," Foreman said. "This training is a preventative and educational measure, like HIPAA or FERPA training. Engaging in all compliance training is about being a good citizen of the campus, holding your community dear, being able to respond if you encounter discrimination, harassment or sexual assault."

All students -- freshmen and transfers -- take similar training when they arrive on campus.

“For students, the training is not only a requirement, but part of their entire learning process,” Foreman said.

About the training

The sessions are interactive and include a variety of workplace scenarios. The two required sessions for all employees take about 40 minutes each to complete. The supervisor supplement can be completed in about 15 minutes.

Employees will find their personal training links in an April 26 email from the EO office. If you have lost your link, contact the equal opportunity office (eooffice@iastate.edu, 4-7612).

Foreman said sessions need not be completed in a single sitting. Participants can stop and restart, as needed.

Each training session includes a letter from President Steven Leath noting that Iowa State does "not tolerate any form of harassment or discrimination and there are both laws and strict university policies in place prohibiting such actions."

The online training, Leath adds, "will help you understand these policies and know what to do if you encounter discrimination or harassment."