College is supposed to be all about education. But at California State University-Northridge it’s all about reeducation.
According to the Sundial, the student newspaper, undergrads at Cal State-Northridge won’t be able to register for the fall 2015 semester until they complete an online course titled “Agent of Change” that’s supposedly designed to help them recognize and prevent “sexual violence.”
Actually, at least according to education blogger Joanne Jacobs, “Agent of Change,” which is in video-game format, is more like brainwashing:
Sims-style characters act out scenarios, helping users “see the connections between these power-based violations, how these problems affect their lives, and what they can do to challenge the cultural norms that help sexual violence flourish,” according to the web site.
Students who give the approved response (“Sex with someone too drunk to consent is sexual assault”) go on the “green path.”
Wrong responses (“girls need to realize” that “it’s normal for guys to want sex”) lead to the yellow path, where the player will be guided toward enlightenment. Serena says: “I guess I see what you mean. I just wish you would think about it more.”
Some answers (“I’m sick of guys being blamed when girls act stupid”) lead to the orange path, where the player will be corrected more strongly. Serena says: “A girl should be able to get drunk, flirt and act stupid at a party without getting raped.”
“Agent of Change is designed specifically to allow you to track as much or as little of your students’ action as you desire,” university officials are told.
Those orange-pathers better watch out.
Furthermore, the Cal State-Northridge has taken an or-else attitude toward students trying to weasel out of playing “Agent of Change.” From the administration’s FAQ page:
I already took a sexual assault awareness program and/or the alcohol training program. Do I need to do this again?
Yes, all CSUN undergraduate students are required to complete the Agent of Change training.
I am taking online courses only. Do I need to complete Agent of Change?
Yes, all CSUN undergraduate students are required to take the Agent of Change training, regardless of whether they are taking courses on campus or online.
I am taking Continuing Education courses only. Do I need to complete Agent of ?
Yes, all CSUN undergraduate students, whether they are taking open university, continuing education, or courses leading to baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees are required to take the Agent of Change training.
Fortunately, Cal State-Northridge students aren’t stupid, and some of them have already figured out how to game their way onto the green path. From the Sundial:
Theatre student Brandon Alvarez is more ahead of the game. He’s finished the course, but isn’t sure that the video game format is the best way to get real responses.
“I don’t know if people will really be truthful,” said Alvarez. “Some of the scenarios are pretty obvious about the answers that they want you to choose.”
And lest you think that “Agent of Change” was created by people with thoroughly altruistic motives, think again:
The “Agent of Change” training tool was created by We End Violence, an organization that defines itself as a “social business.” On their website, We End Violence makes this distinction because it means that the company “does charge for its services and does seek to make a profit, however, it does so “in order to reinvest those profits into the business, allowing (them) to provide even more services.”
Um, isn’t that what the Ford Motor Co. and Facebook do? Make profits and then reinvest them in the business?
How to do well by doing good: Invent an ultra-politically correct video game, and then persuade college administrators to shove it down the students’ throats.