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Online bias training program to be implemented for spring 2019

By Nadira Wicaksana

FSU has adopted a new online anti-bias training module called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” according to David Baldwin, associate dean of students. The module is set to launch this winter before the spring 2019 semester.

This is an addition to the required online education modules – Sexual Assault Prevention (formerly known as Haven) and AlcoholEdu. It was established in the wake of racial hate crimes that occurred during the 2017-18 academic year, said Baldwin.

Baldwin added he decided to instate this addition per the requests of multiple students who suggested last year that an anti-bias module should be part of the mandatory online training. One of these students was sophomore Carlos Barbosa Jr., who was one of last year’s hate crime targets.

“You guys asked for it,” Baldwin said of the training module.

After the fourth reported hate crime of the 2017-18 academic year, FSU President F. Javier Cevallos sent out an email to all students confirming the University had listened to student requests and intended to implement anti-bias training.

Cevallos said in the email, “While this has been a sad and trying time on our campus, I’ve been heartened by the actions taken by so many in our community to unite in rejecting this behavior. You have demanded action from the University and we have heard you.”

The online training program modules were all created by EverFi, a company that specializes in digital learning. FSU purchased access to these modules at a cost of approximately $15,000, according to Baldwin.

In addition to his belief that the company provides “solid” educational materials, Baldwin said the anti-bias module was added to the program at no additional cost to the University. This ultimately solidified the decision to stick with EverFi, as opposed to other companies.

The EverFi website states through the module that students will “learn about key concepts related to identity, bias, power, privilege, and oppression ... understand the benefits of being part of a diverse community ... [and] develop skills related to ally behavior, self-care, and creating inclusive spaces.”

According to Baldwin, incoming first-year FSU students – freshmen and transfer students alike – are required to complete the module before the start of the fall 2019 semester. This is in addition to the completion of Sexual Assault Prevention and AlcoholEdu.

Current students and incoming students for the spring 2019 semester are also required to complete the new module. Baldwin said he hopes students will complete the module during winter break, and “strongly encourages” them to do so.

It will take approximately half an hour to complete, according to Baldwin. Students will at first complete part one of the anti-bias module, and the second part will be delivered in a link 45 days after the date of part one’s completion.

Baldwin said he rolled out a pilot program in which he tested the module through resident assistants, peer mentors, and leaders of student affinity groups, such as BSU, on Oct. 15.

The module will be fully launched and available to all students on Dec. 20, Baldwin added.

Baldwin said he hopes students will be more informed as a result of completing the module.

“It’s not just for here,” he said. “It’ll help them going forward, too, in the big, cruel world that we live in. We know the world is getting smaller every day. We have so many ways to communicate with people from around the world, and you have to be aware of what’s going on around you.

“If you’re getting a job, a lot of companies are international now. You’re going to need to be aware, be conscious of your own biases,” Baldwin added.

Cevallos said, “I always say that the diversity statement we should have is very simple: we respect every single person in our campus community. The bias training will help us move forward in that regard.

“The more we talk, read, and educate ourselves about issues, the better the outcome for all,” he added.

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