On September 17, Campus Reform contributor Kaitlyn Schallhorn reported that the South Carolina-based Clemson University had issued a mandatory student survey that required “students to reveal how many times they’ve had sex in the past month and with how many partners”:
“In screenshots obtained exclusively by Campus Reform, the South Carolina university is asking students invasive and personal questions about their drinking habits and sex life as part of what they’ve billed as an online Title IX training course.”
“‘How many times have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?’ asks one question.”
“‘With how many different people have you had sex (including oral) in the last 3 months?’ asks another.”
The survey was tied to a new mandatory, hour-long course called “Title IX” that incidentally was to be completed by everybody at Clemson University, including students, faculty and staff. However, the sorts of over-burdensome questions mentioned above (the types that clearly violate privacy) were seemingly only attached to the version of the survey designed for students.
The situation came to Campus Reform’s attention via the students at Clemson University, who complained directly to the site. One student told them that his or her issue lies not with the course itself, but rather with the types of questions being asked:
“I have an issue with the personal questions that are asked, and the fact that I’m told it’s anonymous, but it’s clearly linked to my name, and it’s obviously through a third party so not only is my information that I’m going to be filling out – incredibly personal information regarding my sex life that I have issues with speaking about – it’s not only going to the university, it’s going to a third party company that I don’t know.”
Fast forward to today. The Greenville News reveals that Clemson University has responded to the backlash by temporarily rescinding the survey so that it can review and eliminate the controversial questions. University officials also defended their decision to use this third-party module on the basis that it complies with both “Title IX and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act.”
The paper also reports that this exact same module has been in use for three years, and that “more than 190 colleges and universities are using it this year.” This begs the question: why are no other students across the country complaining? There is unfortunately no answer to that question at the moment, though someone might want to look further into it.
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