Provost Daniel Diermeier: Sexual Misconduct Prevention Initiatives

To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, Staff, Postdoctoral Researchers, and Students
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost
Subject: Sexual Misconduct Prevention Initiatives
Date: September 15, 2017

The University is fundamentally committed to values that promote the full participation of all members of our community. As part of that commitment, the University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, genetic information or other legally protected classes.  Sexual misconduct, which encompasses a range of conduct, from sexual assault to sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, violates the standards of our community, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The University will take necessary action to prevent, correct, and, where indicated, take disciplinary action regarding unlawful discrimination and sexual misconduct.

Recent discussions at the federal level related to Title IX have raised questions and concerns at many colleges and Universities. We reaffirm that the University is strongly committed to supporting members of our community on these issues, and that commitment is independent of legal requirements. In addition, the University will continue to ensure compliance with Title IX and relevant federal regulations and state law.

The University continues to make substantial efforts to address allegations of sexual misconduct and ensure that we respond to such incidents in a prompt and thorough manner that is equitable for all participants, best serves our community and complies with the applicable laws and regulations.

I want to highlight a few of these important resources and reporting options for you.

Sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training is mandatory for all students, faculty, other academic appointees, staff, and postdoctoral researchers.  Michele Rasmussen (Dean of Students in the University), Bridget Collier (Associate Provost & Title IX Coordinator for the University), and Ronn Kolbash (Interim AVP of Human Resources) will send a follow-up message containing specific details regarding the logistics of these training programs.  The University welcomes feedback on these programs, which will continue to be developed and updated over time.

The University offers many forms of support and resources – including confidential resources – to all members of our community. For additional information regarding resources and the University’s response to reports of sexual misconduct, please review the University’s one-page resource guide for students, or visit the UMatter website (for students) or the Provost’s website.  I also encourage you to contact Bridget Collier, Title IX Coordinator, or Shea Wolfe, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, with questions at any time.  Shea focuses solely on student concerns pertaining to sexual misconduct – including receiving complaints and providing support services and accommodations to students. Shea can also answer questions regarding engaging in the student disciplinary process or making a complaint with local law enforcement.

The Office of the Provost’s Campus Partner Task Force on Sexual Misconduct is comprised of key members of the campus community and includes students, faculty, and staff.  The Task Force provides opportunities for further training on issues that relate to Title IX and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, reviews best practices related to prevention, and analyzes data on campus trends related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

The Office of the Provost’s Sexual Misconduct Advisory Board is a group of students that serves as a liaison between the Office of the Provost and undergraduate, graduate, and professional students regarding sexual misconduct. The purpose of the advisory board is to provide student perspectives and input on policies, procedures, and programs pertaining to sexual misconduct.

These are important steps and initiatives toward strengthening the University’s response to sexual misconduct, increasing confidence in the process, building awareness of the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct (including the processes, definitions, reporting obligations, and support services set forth in the Policy), and fostering a healthy and respectful living, learning and working environment.