Section: Opinion

Thinking About It: Students respond to controversial course

Students will fail to take program seriously.

In the midst of Switchboard emails and lists of upcoming Kenyon events, an email appeared in every upperclassman’s inbox: Upperclass Student Required Online Training. If you missed this email, you better go searching through your trash and spam. Completion of this course is required in order to register for spring semester classes.

Entitled “Think About It,” the course covers everything from drinking at parties to abusive relationships and sexual assault. These are delicate and important topics to be discussed, and it’s great that the Kenyon administration is trying to generate discussion. When it comes to Think About It, however, the discussion seems to lean more toward how long and annoying the program felt, rather than anything of substance.

By my best estimate, this course can take anywhere from an hour and 15 minutes to three and a half hours. This discrepancy is due in large part to whether or not the student in question is actually going to read the articles or just jam the “next” button until the course is completed.

And therein lies the problem with Think About It: Only the truly righteous among us are actually willing to sit through the entire thing. I will be upfront about the fact that I was one of those people who put it on mute, had an episode of American Horror Story on my iPhone and waited to be able to click the next button.

I’d like to think that I’m the type of person who would take something like this seriously, spending hours to read all the separate articles and watch videos of actors trying desperately to be relatable to kids these days. Apparently, I am not that type of person.

I started out genuinely paying attention, but the program was condescending from the start. Trying so desperately to seem relevant and relatable made the program seem more like an elementary school typing program than a platform to discuss something so important — and so potentially triggering — as sexual assault. Having to click through the different buildings on a college campus in order to learn about different signs of an abusive relationship felt sort of like a twisted game of “Where’s Waldo?” and I soon found myself growing weary.

With no end to the program in sight, I began to check out — but I still hadn’t learned anything about how to deal with and prevent sexual assault and potentially abusive relationships. In that moment, at 4 p.m. on a weekday afternoon, these topics felt less important than the laundry I still had to do or the econ test I had coming up in a few days. This shouldn’t be the case.

By the time any new information or important topics could be introduced, I was checked out. And from what I can tell from conversations, most people checked out way before I did. Though I’m sad to say it, this program was not successful. If the administration is going to try to educate students on the topic of sexual assault — and they should — this mandatory training is not the way to do so.

Devon Musgrave-Johnson  ’19 is an English and film major from Manchester-By-The-Sea, Mass. Contact her at


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