OUR POINT THIS WEEK:
The way the Anti-harassment training program should be approached is in a way that shows its importance and necessity at Butler | 18-0-3
On March 5, Butler University launched a digital workplace harassment prevention program as part of a series of training courses on the topic.
The program and any following courses are for the institution’s faculty and staff, as well as all student employees.
It is well worth the university’s time to invest in such a series. Curbing any type of harassment in any type of workplace environment should be extremely important to everyone employed at that location.
However, we feel the approach taken with announcing, promoting and producing the first program has left several things to be desired.
Butler worked with Workplace Answers, a human resources training service, on the production of this first program.
Butler President James Danko announced the program and series via email on March 3, briefly describing its purpose and role in creating a healthier workplace environment. In addition, the email informed recipients that the program’s completion was mandatory, and that it should be finished by April 4.
After that email, however, there has been little information provided as to why this is so important an exercise, what will happen if an employee does not complete the exercise or why it is being distributed now.
Inherently, those who received the program should realize the importance of keeping any type of harassment out of the workplace, and out of Butler as a whole. Keeping employees informed about what constitutes harassment is a crucial and necessary venture.
That being said, the first program and entire series should have its importance marketed beyond a single email from the university president.
Those required to finish the program received emails on March 5 and March 18 from Workplace Answers describing how to access the program, but not truly displaying its importance.
There is also no crystal-clear consequence for not completing the program’s contents. Everyone who has received the course should work on it, but for those who are busy or not clear on its importance, there is little that can motivate them to finish it.
The timing of the program’s release is confusing as well.
It feels as though this is something that should have been released in early-August instead of early-March, if it is being used to inform everyone of university, state and federal policies. Teaching university employees these anti-harassment policies for, potentially, five weeks’ use seems shortsighted.
On top of clarity issues associated with the program and series, this first program could have been produced in a more impactful manner.
Those on staff who have completed the program agreed it is very easy to click through without retaining or learning much. Attempts to make the program interactive and interesting come off as somewhat amateur in nature, too.
Lastly, consideration should be made for spreading this program and series to the entire campus community.
As slides in the first program say, harassment is not something that affects just some people. Incidents have been recorded in Butler University Police Department reports of harassment, most commonly through texting. It is unlikely university employees make up the whole of perpetrators in these reports.
Overall, we believe the existence of this program and any subsequent ones is a net positive for Butler.
However, aspects of such a series need to be considered in more detail before additional programs are released to the community.
*All responses and questions in response to staff editorials should be directed to EIC Colin Likas at firstname.lastname@example.org