University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank released a statement Monday disclosing updates on the University’s response to campus sexual harassment.
UW has filled several open records requests from different news organizations regarding sexual assault complaints and investigations from the past decade. Blank acknowledged the public interest in the university’s response, and she cited the growing nationwide movement for institutions to improve the way they handle instances of sexual assault.
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“Every person on this campus — whether a student, staff member or faculty member — deserves a learning and working environment that is free from harassment,” Blank said. “The attention being paid to sexual harassment and misconduct has given us a unique opportunity to raise awareness about our campus policies, resources and reporting options.”
As Blank stated in a January blog post, UW hired a full-time Title IX coordinator in 2015. Though the majority of reporting of and responses to sexual harassment cases have mostly been handled at the departmental level, the administration will now require all complaints to be reported to the Title IX coordinator to ensure they are aptly addressed.
This summer, UW will be holding additional mandatory training for “Title IX Responsible Employees,” who are designated as informants to the Title IX coordinator regarding reports of sexual misconduct. Blank hopes this initiative, in addition to improved record-keeping, will enhance the university’s future responses to sexual harassment.
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Blank restated the University’s commitment to providing aid for victims of sexual misconduct, and she referred to university resources available to survivors and advocates.
“Here at UW, our efforts to combat sexual harassment began before the issue made headlines and I assure you they will continue,” Blank said. “I am encouraged by the momentum we are seeing and deeply appreciate the efforts of the students, staff and faculty who are committed to helping our campus move forward on this issue.”