UM System mandatory training extended due to technical problems

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COLUMBIA - Friday was the deadline for University of Missouri system employees to complete mandated Title IX sexual harassment training courses, but the training hasn't come easily due to technical problems. UM System officials now say they are extending the deadline to March 31.

Computer problems have caused UM systems to extend the deadline for completion of the courses. The training includes two online courses - one on harassment and the other on responsibilities as a mandated reporter - that faculty and staff are having trouble completing.

John Fougere, chief communications officer for the University of Missouri System, said that as of January 29, only 60 percent of University of Missouri System staff and 52 percent of its faculty have completed the harassment course. The numbers for the mandated reporting course are much lower with only 44 percent of staff and 38 percent of faculty having completed the course.

"Certainly the numbers are not where we want them to be, so now our staff has over two more months to complete the training," Fougere said.

The mandatory training encompasses all of the campuses faculty and staff from all four universities under the UM system, also including the University of Missouri Health System. The training comes at a time when Title IX has been addressed as a very serious challenge and problem on college campuses.

"President [Tim] Wolfe has said that as the land-grant university, he thinks the University of Missouri should set an example as to how we address the societal issue of sexual misconduct and how we prioritize the safety of our students, faculty and staff," Fougere said.

The UM System is addressing the technical problems of the training by not only extending the deadline but also designating computers across each campus to be used for the training. They are also making adjustments to the configuration of the training program "myLearn."

As of now, the training is only required once throughout an employees time at one of the campuses, but Fougere said more training could arise in the future if necessary.

Each campus will individually determine what sanctions are appropriate of those that fail to complete the training by March 31.