Provost Eric D. Isaacs: Message about Sexual Misconduct

To: Students, Faculty, and Staff
From: Eric D. Isaacs, Provost
Subject: Message about Sexual Misconduct
Date: February 15, 2016

I write to provide an update to my September message regarding how the University is using the results of the 2015 sexual misconduct climate survey to renew our commitment to creating a community free of unlawful harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. 

In response to the survey the University has:

  • Provided newly-designed in-person sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training to over 2,200 graduate students;
  • Redesigned and enhanced mandatory training for all first year students in the College during Orientation Week;
  • Launched umatter.uchicago.edu in response to student requests for a single site that explains polices, resources, processes, and options; and
  • Increased educational initiatives regarding confidential resources, consent, intimate partner violence, and reporting obligations.

To strengthen our response to sexual misconduct, the University is pursuing a number of initiatives: 

  • Beginning July 1, 2016, regular sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training will be mandatory for all members of the University community – including students, faculty, academic appointees, postdocs, and staff.  This training will educate our community about sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and sexual harassment. It will also provide information about University policy – including processes, reporting obligations, and support services. In 2015, mandatory training was recommended by the Kandel Committee, a faculty committee chaired by Jessica Kandel, and was reviewed by the Council of the University Senate and the Committee of the Council.
  • To improve the speed of our investigations and complaint adjudication, and the consistency of our responses to sexual misconduct, the University will reallocate resources for dedicated personnel reporting to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Sarah Wake. The reorganization will also enable us to better provide support and resources for survivors.
  • Faculty and administrators involved with the intake and resolution of sexual misconduct complaints will be required to undergo eight to ten hours of additional training related to sexual misconduct complaints to ensure they are responding in a way that is supportive of those reporting incidents and consistent with University policy.
  • The University will release annual statistics on the number of student reports, investigations, and disciplinary hearings regarding sexual misconduct and information on how these matters have been resolved.

We believe these efforts will continue to build 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), to strengthen our response to sexual misconduct, increase confidence in the University’s response to sexual misconduct, and contribute to a healthy and respectful living, learning and working environment.