I am writing to update you on measures we are taking to better prevent sexual misconduct and provide educational and support resources for our community. They align with our overall goals of improving awareness, training, reporting and accountability regarding all forms of sexual misconduct on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses and Michigan Medicine.
The measures were recommended by a working group, chaired by Daniel Little, former chancellor of UM-Dearborn, and Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for human resources, that included faculty and staff experts on sexual misconduct from our three campuses and Michigan Medicine.
The group recommended a simple, centralized website devoted to sexual misconduct reporting, prevention and education that can be easily accessed by all members of our community. That website is now live, and prominently linked off the Gateway and other major university pages. It includes a video message from university leaders.
As part of our commitment to encouraging awareness and reporting, we will be providing additional communications on these important issues throughout the year.
A second working group recommendation is that U-M invest in a comprehensive sexual misconduct training and education approach for all faculty and staff. Currently, participation for existing faculty and staff is voluntary. Training will now be required for all. The first part of the required education and training program will be released later this fall.
Those are just a few examples of our efforts. We are currently evaluating how we will implement additional aspects of the group’s work, including a second phase on developing an equitable and inclusive workplace environment. We will have more to share in the months ahead.
To be as thorough as possible, we also have asked an outside expert to conduct a broader examination of our policies, procedures and practices around sexual misconduct, assess the quality of our current efforts and suggest what we can be doing better. That work is ongoing.
Our regents, executive officers, and leaders across our community are united in the belief that sexual misconduct has no place at the University of Michigan, and retaliation against those who report misconduct won’t be tolerated. It’s up to all of us to report sexual misconduct, support those who come forward, participate in education and training programs, be an advocate for the university community we aspire to be, and to create a safe, inclusive and respectful culture for all.
Additional information is available in the University Record.
I appreciate your engagement in this important endeavor.
Mark S. Schlissel