September 20, 2018
To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, Staff, Postdoctoral Researchers, and Students
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost
Subject: Sexual Misconduct Prevention Initiatives
Date: September 20, 2018
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.
Discussions at the federal level related to Title IX regulations continue to raise questions 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 makes 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 efforts, and important resources and reporting options for you.
The University will be participating in the Association of American Universities (AAU) spring 2019 climate survey. The survey is designed to assess the incidence, prevalence and characteristics of incidents of sexual assault and misconduct and provides an opportunity to benchmark against peer institutions. There are 33 institutions participating in the survey and a Faculty Advisory Group has been convened to help guide the University’s participation.
This year the reorganization of the Office of the Provost’s Equal Opportunity Programs led to the establishment of the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support. Shea Wolfe was appointed the Director of the Office and continues to serve as Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students and Associate Dean of Students in the University. This Office focuses solely on student concerns pertaining to sexual misconduct – including leading prevention initiatives, receiving complaints and providing support services and accommodations to students, and answering questions regarding engaging in the student disciplinary process or making a complaint with local law enforcement. In addition to Shea’s role, there are two new Associate Directors who have been hired to support these efforts.
Megan Heckel, Associate Director, will be assisting with campus-wide training, intake of student reports of sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, and provide support in obtaining interim measures and/or accommodations when needed. Vickie Sides, Associate Director for Prevention Initiatives and Programming, works collaboratively with campus partners in leading evidence-based prevention activities institution-wide, including bystander interventions, socioecological models of prevention, workshops, community programs, and awareness campaigns. Additionally, she will continue to manage the RSVP Programming Center, a hub of student-run workshops on sexual and relationship violence and prevention. You can find a complete list of initiatives related to sexual misconduct prevention and support on the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support website.
Sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training is mandatory every year 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 Casey Cook (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 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, Associate Provost and Title IX Coordinator for the University.
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.