September 23, 2019
To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, Staff, Postdoctoral Researchers, and Students
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost
Subject: Sexual Misconduct Prevention Initiatives
Date: September 19, 2019
The University is fundamentally committed to the pursuit of academic excellence, both in conducting research and in providing a transformative education. That excellence can only be achieved in an environment where all members of our community — faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, students, and staff — are able to participate fully. 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, including sexual assault or sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking violates the standards of our community, and will not be tolerated.
The University makes substantial efforts to prevent and address allegations of sexual misconduct and ensure that we respond to such incidents in a prompt and thorough manner that is equitable for all affected parties, best serves our community, and complies with the applicable laws and regulations. All members of our community should be familiar with and must follow the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, which defines relevant terms, processes, reporting obligations, and support services.
I want to highlight some of these efforts and important resources for our campus community.
- The Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support leads our comprehensive support for students, including receiving complaints, providing support services and accommodations, and answering questions regarding the student disciplinary process and making a complaint with law enforcement.
- The staff in the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support partner with students to offer innovative training and peer-to-peer educational programming.
- 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 and Title IX Coordinator, and Casey Cook, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, will send a follow-up message with details regarding the logistics of these training programs.
- In addition, this year the Office of the Provost’s Student Advisory Board on Sexual Misconduct, in conjunction with UChicagoGRAD and the Graduate Council, will conduct a review of training with a specific focus on addressing the needs of graduate and professional students. We invite graduate or professional students to take part in this process; if interested, please contact Megan Heckel, Associate Director for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support.
- As part of our commitment to maintaining a safe and welcoming campus, the University participated in the Association of American Universities (AAU) spring 2019 climate survey designed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of incidents of sexual assault and misconduct across peer institutions. We will share summary results later this quarter.
- The University continues to make progress in prevention, recently receiving national recognition with the 2019 EVERFI Impact Award for excellence in sexual assault prevention programming.
- The University offers many forms of support and resources — including confidential resources — to all members of our community. For more information, please review the University’s one-page resource guide for students, the UMatter website or the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support website. I also encourage you to contact Bridget Collier, Associate Provost and Title IX Coordinator for the University, for more information or resources.
These are important steps and initiatives to further strengthen the University’s response to sexual misconduct and foster a healthy and respectful living, learning, and working environment.