The Australian National University is offering online consent training to students living in residential colleges in a bid to stamp out sexual harassment and sexist behaviour.
Some colleges, including John XXIII, where four students were suspended during Orientation Week for sexist chanting, have made the Consent Matters program compulsory. More than 1000 students have completed the hour-long module.
"There's more to consent than a simple yes or no," an introductory video tells students. "This course will show you what consent looks and sounds like."
The module covers topics including misconceptions about consent, relationships, the spectrum of sexual activities and positive intervention, which encourages witnesses of questionable behaviour to intervene.
Students work through several multiple choice scenarios, quizzes and videos to learn the appropriateness of different behaviours.
One scenario sees a group of students drinking together at a bar. Louise and Alex get cosy at pre-drinks, and friends later agree that each person has "a reputation".
"She's a guaranteed lay, mate," one man says to Alex, as the pair get progressively more drunk.
Louise can barely stand mid-cartoon. Can Louise consent to sex with Alex?
"Absolutely not," the module firmly states. "Louise does not have the capacity to consent to sex."
ANU deputy vice-chancellor Marnie Hughes-Warrington said the university was working on a similar module for staff.
"There is a strong argument for making this type of training compulsory for all our staff and students," Professor Hughes-Warrington said.
Epigeum, the UK-based company that developed the program, described Consent Matters as "ideal for universities who want to articulate a zero tolerance approach to sexual violence and harassment".
"Students take part in an interactive online course that explores consent, relationships and positive intervention in way that is both down-to-earth and empowering – which means equipping students with the skills and confidence to call out and challenge unacceptable behaviour," director Bonny Legge said.
John XXIII head Geoff Johnston said the college made Consent Matters mandatory as part of its O-Week training on respect, relationships and alcohol.
"It's where you've got to start," he said.
"Education is a critical part of making people aware of situations and making them aware of what is appropriate and what isn't appropriate and what we're also doing is saying we've got standards here, this is the values we expect, this is where we draw the line and if you cross the line there'll be consequences.
"Let me put it this way: you're dealing with students who are getting away from home, getting a bit of independence for the first time, and that is always going to be a challenge."
ANU has run annual training with the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre for senior residents in its colleges since 2005 but rolled out the pilot online training for the first time this year.
It was the first among the Group of Eight universities to do so and the first in Australia alongside the University of Newcastle.
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