University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate convened Monday to discuss pressing issues UW is facing, such as sexual assault, tenure policy and finding a replacement for Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell.
Sexual assault findings
Exceeding the national response average, 22.2 percent of UW students responded to a campus climate survey on sexual assault last year. The Association of American Universities conducted the survey and Bret Payseur, associate professor of genetics, presented the results in front of the senate.
According to the survey results and again exceeding the national average, 27.6 percent of female undergraduate students have experienced sexual assault involving force or incapacitation. Among these incidents, the percentage of assaults is higher in the Greek community, and alcohol was commonly involved.
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Chancellor Rebecca Blank said UW is putting enormous effort into addressing the problem of campus sexual assault within the Greek system.
“[UW is] implementing a series of training, action guidelines and events in the Greek system that I think are really not only major steps forward, but also a role model that I hope Greek systems around the country and other universities can use as well,” Blank said.
According to the results, undergraduate student respondents at UW know more about campus resources for sexual assault victims than graduate student respondents.
The results also showed 70.3 percent of undergraduate female respondents and 62.7 percent of graduate female respondents reported they were sexually harassed by a peer. In addition, 3.4 percent of undergraduate female respondents and 12.4 percent of graduate female respondents reported they were sexually harassed by a teacher or advisor.
One problem the survey raised, Payseur said, is a large percentage of students would not act or report as bystanders. As a solution, UW launched the Green Dot program, a free, quarterly bystander training for students to learn how to step in and speak up when they see potential sexual violence.
Blank said the university also supports a state government bill that would give underage people immunity from a drinking ticket if he or she reports or assists a victim of sexual assault.
“We really want people to report and to help when they’re present and see someone in trouble,” Blank said.
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Payseur then introduced a list of recommendations to address the survey findings, such as reducing high-risk alcohol consumption by education or enforcement, and improving students’ limited knowledge of campus resources. The recommendations passed the full senate.
Tenure policy update
The UW Tenure Policy Task Force also provided an update on its progress. Patricia McManus, UW’s task force representative, said they will work with the Board of Regents to make the policy as broad as possible. She said this will enable each campus in the system to modify it according to its needs.
McManus said the current UW System tenure policy is not consistent with UW’s, because before the campus became part of the system in the 1970s, it had its own tenure policy, which is “better than our peers’.”
“As a relative new-comer who only moved to Madison in the summer of 2014, I personally feel changing the policy into state law seems to make it more vulnerable, not less.” McManus said.
Search underway for replacement vice chancellor for finance and administration
The meeting was Bazzell’s last because he is taking a position at the University of Texas-Austin in early March. Blank thanked Bazzell for his service to UW and announced she is looking for someone to take Bazzell’s place.
Blank said she will name an interim in about a week who will do the job for four to six months while the university’s search committee looks for someone to fill Bazzell’s position.
“This is a big job, and this is a very good job, and I think we’re going to get some very good candidates,” Blank said.
At the end of the meeting the senate passed a series of proposals to combine departments on campus and change the names of certain departments.