Chancellor’s Update: Efforts to Combat and Prevent Sexual Harassment and Misconduct

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Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Recent nationwide news coverage regarding sexual harassment, and as of last week, local coverage about UWM, demonstrates the need for vigilance and continued attention to this important topic. UWM maintains its stance of taking sexual harassment and misconduct seriously and its commitment to ongoing actions to provide an environment free of such behaviors. As no organization is immune from sexual harassment and misconduct, UWM has policies, procedures and services to address these issues.

UWM’s Guiding Values include being “[a] caring, compassionate, and collegial community characterized by mutual respect and safety.” Sexual assault and sexual harassment are directly contrary to this value.

We want faculty, staff and students to feel comfortable discussing and reporting sexual harassment and misconduct. In the last six months, more than 90 percent of UWM employees completed training regarding appropriate conduct as well as how to report such conduct if it occurs. When violations are found, the matter is referred to our disciplinary processes. If a matter does not violate our policies, there are still opportunities for training or education to help employees understand the impact of behavior that nonetheless makes others uncomfortable.

Our Office of Equity and Diversity Services (EDS) is available for faculty, staff and students to discuss concerns and file complaints. While even one allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct is too many, EDS data show that formal complaints of sexual harassment and assault have decreased at UWM every year since 2014. In the last five years, there were 40 complaints involving 37 instructors and supervisors. In most cases, the investigation found no violation. In 11 cases in which a violation did occur, appropriate discipline was taken. Most of the violating faculty and staff were terminated or have left the university.

Media coverage on sexual harassment and misconduct will likely continue due to the importance of these issues and given that media inquiries have been made about all UW System institutions. For such inquiries to UWM, we will provide responses consistent with the law, which sometimes requires notice to the subject of the requested information.

I am committed to maintaining a safe and supportive environment for our students and employees. We will not tolerate behavior that runs counter to our values and puts our community at risk. Below, please see links to information sources and support services for employees and students. Thank you for contributing to an environment in which everyone feels comfortable and safe.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee