- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The University of Southern California apologized Wednesday for any discomfort several optional questions on students’ sex lives might have caused as part of its required training to prevent sexual assaults.

The questions have been removed, USC senior vice president for administration Todd Dickey said.

“All colleges and universities are required by law to provide such training, and our training was a standardized module being used by hundreds of colleges and universities across the country,” Dickey said.

Campus Reform (https://bit.ly/1UPjH8n ) reported Tuesday that USC students were asked questions such as how many sexual encounters they’d had over the past three months and with how many different people.

The questions were part of an optional survey included in training required under federal laws, including the Violence Against Women Act. The training is not required to be online, but many universities are using online instruction.

The training was developed by CampusClarity, which said the course has been taken by over 1 million students across the country. According to the company, schools have the option of including surveys about student behavior.

In a statement, CampusClarity said schools may make the course mandatory, but “the questions are not.”

“Every question includes a ‘no comment’ answer option that students can select if they do not wish to respond to the question,” the statement said.

The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2013 included new requirements to educate students and employees on rape and sexual assault awareness.

Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center for Security on Campus, a nonprofit that trains colleges to comply with the federal Clery Act, said the reauthorization doesn’t specify how the training should be delivered. The Clery Act requires that colleges and universities receiving federal funds keep and disclose information about campus crime.

“There is no one size fits all when it comes to training so when implementing a program or system, a responsible practice is to involve your entire community in the process and to evaluate the effectiveness of such training,” she said.

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