Supporting the Full Participation of Our Community

October 1, 2021

To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, Staff, Postdoctoral Researchers, and Students
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: Supporting the Full Participation of Our Community
Date: October 1, 2021

The University of Chicago is committed to being an inclusive and accessible campus that does not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct. Creating this environment supports the full participation of all members of the campus community in the academic, research, and work life of the University. Diversity and inclusion of different perspectives, experiences, and abilities is integral to the process of rigorous inquiry which is foundational to the University. I write to ask all members of our community to take an active role in creating and maintaining this environment. Additionally, I want to share information on related policies, along with available support and resources.

The University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other legally protected classes. Please familiarize yourself with the University’s policies and practices related to preventing and responding to harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct, as well as supporting accessibility of people with disabilities. The University’s Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment and Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct both define relevant terms, processes, reporting obligations, and support services. Access UChicago Now provides information regarding accommodations and resources that support accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities.

The University makes substantial efforts to prevent and address allegations of harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct, and to further accessibility for the campus community.

  • The University recently launched the Center for Awareness, Resolution, Education, and Support (UChicago CARES), which will enhance efforts and resources to prevent and respond to all forms of harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. The multidisciplinary UChicago CARES team will take a holistic approach to supporting all members of the University community through outreach initiatives and prevention education, the coordination and provision of support services that focus on the care and empowerment of individuals, and the expansion of available resolution options.
  • Support and resources — including confidential resources —are available to all members of our community. For more information, please review the University’s resource guides for students, faculty/other academic appointees/postdoctoral researchers/staff, and individuals with sexual misconduct reporting responsibilities; the UMatter website; and the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support website. Appendix I in the University’s Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment and Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct contains a comprehensive overview of available support and resources.
  • Sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training is required annually for all students, faculty, other academic appointees, staff, and postdoctoral researchers. You will receive a follow-up message in the coming weeks with details on completing the training program.
  • The Bias Education & Support Team (BEST) is a resource for students impacted by bias to report and to receive support and information regarding options. Students may report a bias incident by submitting an incident report or contacting a BEST member.
  • Where access may not be accomplished in the same way for every program participant or employee, the University provides accessibility through accommodations. Accommodation requests on the basis of a disability are facilitated through the following units:
    • For students, through Student Disability Services (SDS);
    • For faculty, other academic appointees, and postdoctoral researchers, through Equal Opportunity Programs; and
    • For staff, through Employee and Labor Relations or local human resources partners.
    • In addition to requests for accommodations on the basis of disability, students, staff, faculty, other academic appointees, and postdoctoral researchers may submit accommodation requests due to concerns related to COVID-19 (e.g., for those who believe they are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection due to an underlying medical condition).
  • The Center for Digital Accessibility (CDA) supports the campus community in meeting accessibility guidelines as set forth in the University’s Digital Accessibility Policy and provides accessibility resources for content creators, individuals who create and design University content and are responsible for ensuring that original content creations (e.g., videos, websites, PDFs, slide decks, etc.) are accessible for individuals with disabilities. For more information, contact the CDA about digital content and SDS about course materials. You may also use Sensus Access, an open-source document conversion resource, to convert files into accessible formats.
  • Events are expected to be accessible. Event accessibility resources are available to assist event organizers, who are responsible for accessibility and accommodations related to their events. The Accessible Events Resource Guide and Accessible Events Resource Checklist can assist event organizers with creating accessible events.

These initiatives and resources are important steps to further strengthen the University’s response to harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct, and to foster an inclusive and accessible living, learning, and working environment. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to help all members of our community fully participate in the life of the University.