MUNCIE, Ind. - Incoming freshmen at Ball State will have to complete an online course examining the connection between alcohol use and sexual violence under a federal law designed to reduce violence on college campuses.
Ball State also has begun tracking domestic violence, dating violence and stalking incidents to comply with the federal Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, The Star Press reported .
The law is part of a national push by President Barack Obama to protect students from sexual assault. Ball State President Jo Ann Gora said it is just the latest in a series of federal mandates targeting sexual violence and discrimination on campus.
According to Ball State's latest Campus Security Report, eight forcible sex offenses were reported on campus and three in noncampus buildings in 2012.
But the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights says such incidents are widely under-reported. Nearly 20 percent of college women will be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault, the office estimates.
Ball State already offers 15 educational programs each month to minimize sexual violence, said Kay Bales, Ball State's vice president for student affairs. That will increase with the addition of "Think About It," the online training program incoming freshmen must take.
The program was developed by CampusClarity, a service of LawRoom, a web-based, California employment law trainer, and the University of San Francisco's Division of Student Life.
LawRoom reports that half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who have been drinking, and half of all victims report they had been drinking when they were assaulted.
The new law goes further than the 1990 Clery Act, under which schools must publish crime statistics and security information, by requiring schools to add acts of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking to their reports.