Cal State-Northridge Halts Class Registration Until Students Complete Feminist Anti-Sexual Assault Video Game
All CSUN students registering for the 2015 Fall Semester are being forced to participate in an online, SIMS-style character game about sexual assault before being allowed to claim a seat for any course.
The game, titled "Agent of Change" and designed by feminist activists, does not allow students to complete the game until they have given enough "correct" answers as per the designers' stated philosophical influences, such as "norms challenging," "feminist theory," and "social norms theory." According to the Agent of Change website, the program helps 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.”
Screenshot from demonstration video for Agent of Change.
Screenshot of sample dialogue from demonstration video.
Demonstration video explaining how student responses are judged while playing the game. Note that in this instance, the answer "I'm sick of guys being blamed when girls act stupid" sends a student on the "orange path," where non-politically correct opinions draw fire from a game character.
The usage of Agent of Change isn't new. Since 2013, about two dozen other universities, including Princeton and Northwestern, have also used Agent of Change to get students (about 20,000 of them so far) to become characters in stories that make decisions. (PJ Media is following up with each institution to compare their utilization of the game with CSUN's significant decision to mandate the software for class registration.)
The push to offer any such material is due to the federal Violence Against Women Act reauthorization of 2013. (The original 1994 bill was drafted in part by then-Senator Joe Biden.) The 2013 reauthorization included the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act provision, which requires that universities offer training to combat sexual violence.
The software is produced by Carol Mosely and Jeffrey Bucholtz of We End Violence. Bucholtz has previously produced a video titled A Way From Violence, which -- according to the video's description -- was shaped heavily by his political leanings:
Centered on an educational performance by Jeffrey Bucholtz, this film enhances our cultural understanding about the connections between different forms of oppression, and how those oppressions facilitate sexual violence.
The concept that various "oppressions," and not individual decisions to engage in criminal activity, are the root cause of sexual violence is certainly a political viewpoint, one which now must be regurgitated by the entire CSUN undergraduate community.
Interestingly, Agent of Change also claims that "a team from the Department of Defense reviewing sexual assault prevention programs has evaluated Agent of Change and classified it as highly recommended." Indeed, several Air Force bases have been utilizing Agent of Change.
The following questions are from CSUN's Agent of Change FAQ:
What is Agent of Change?
Agent of Change is an interactive, online sexual violence prevention training tool that utilizes popular and evidence-informed strategies from the field of violence prevention: myth acceptance, norms challenging, motivational interviewing, feminist theory, social norms theory, and bystander intervention. Addressing complex issues of sexual assault, stalking, abusive relationships, and sexual harassment, Agent of Change places students in simulated situations where they are challenged to think about how these problems affect their daily lives and how they can act to change them.
Why do I need to complete Agent of Change, and is it mandatory?
Due to the importance of this issue and pursuant to mandates from the California State University Chancellor's Office and federal and state law, sexual violence prevention and awareness training is required of all students at California State University Northridge (CSUN). All CSUN undergraduate students must complete Agent of Change by April 17, 2015 to avoid a registration hold for Fall Semester 2015.
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 Change?
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.
- Carol Mosely, co-director of We End Violence, creator of the interactive sexual assault prevention program, Agent of Change.
PJTV's Scott Ott contacted Carol Mosely by telephone Thursday evening. Mosely says she has been working in the field of sexual assault prevention for years, but was slow to accept the idea of a computer program to do what she has been doing face to face with groups of college students.