U-M joins National Academies in collaborative on sexual harassment

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 12:47pm

The University of Michigan joined the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine as founding members of a collaborative on sexual harassment. The collaborative consists of 46 colleges and universities across the country, including prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale.

The collaborative, which released a report entitled “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine” last year, focuses on the impact of sexual harassment in higher education. By joining the collaborative, the University of Michigan will help “develop promising practices, share communications strategies and resources, speak with a collective voice, and motivate real action to address and prevent sexual harassment across higher education,” according to the collaborative’s website.

The Office of Public Affairs directed The Daily to a University Record article on the collaborative, which highlights the impact of the collaborative’s goals at the University.

“These goals align with U-M’s commitment to fostering an environment where all members of the campus community are safe and feel respected,” the article stated. “Comprehensive sexual misconduct training and education will now be required for all faculty and staff, which is approximately 48,000 people.”

The efforts at the University are being led by faculty members Fiona Lee, associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, and Sara Pozzi, Engineering director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

In an interview with The Daily, Lee said the collaborative hopes to deal with more than just sexual harassment in its traditional understanding.

“It’s not just the egregious types of behaviors,” she said. “It’s gender harassment, where women are put down or marginalized or their comments are diminished, and general incivility.”

The University joining the collaborative comes in tandem with the University’s recent efforts to combat sexual harassment. President Mark Schlissel recently commissioned an outside review of the University’s sexual misconduct policies, which is currently ongoing.

The collaborative has four main goals: raise awareness about sexual harassment, sharing institutional policies to prevent sexual harassment, contributing to research and developing standards for measuring progress.

Pozzi spoke to the University Record about the importance of working towards these goals.

“We are excited about the important work that will be done in the framework of this action collaborative,” Pozzi said. “As a result, our campus will become a more inclusive and welcoming place for everyone.”