In a newsletter sent to all UW staff and faculty April 26, UW President Ana Mari Cauce reaffirmed the University’s commitment in preventing sexual harassment as well as providing the necessary resources for victims. Cauce also stated that beginning May 1, there would be an increase in workshops, training and accessibility on all campuses.
“Sexual harassment is devastating for victims, and too often, survivors do not get the support they need when they come forward,” Cauce stated in her newsletter. “Our university is dedicated to fostering working and learning environments that are free from sexual harassment and all forms of sexual violence and discrimination.”
This newsletter comes as a response to the efforts of the #MeToo movement to raise awareness of active and passive sexual harassment. The “MeToo” hashtag was popularized in late 2017 by actress Alyssa Milano in a show of support for women to tweet about their experiences with sexual harassment.
While #MeToo has been trending for only seven months, the Me Too movement has been around since 2006. Created by social activist and organizer Tarana Burke, the movement is dedicated to supporting women — especially women of color in low income communities — in the process of healing from sexaul assault and violcence. The goal of the movement is to ensure the safety of everyone and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Mentha Hynes-Wilson, UW Tacoma’s vice chancellor of Student and Enrollment Services, forwarded the newsletter to all students on the Tacoma campus. In her message, Hynes-Wilson further elaborated on President Cauce’s commitment to providing the appropriate resources for students in addition to resources for staff and faculty. Included in the email were links to the UW’s Sexual Harassment Resources web page, with Hynes-Wilson stating the following;
“I want you to be aware that the UW has resources available to students seeking support or to report sexual harassment, sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct, as President Cauce made clear in her message to University employees.”
Effective May 1, university campus divisions, departments and programs will be allowed to request custom in-person trainings and programs that address sexual harassment through Campus Human Resources.
In addition to these trainings and programs, President Cauce also stated that three separate groups — one of which is a Title IX workgroup — are looking into ways to help refine sexual harassment training and education, which will be reviewed by the Title IX Steering Committee this autumn.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law signed under President Nixon in 1972 which prevents discrimination based on sex in institutions which receive financial assistance from the federal government. This extends to cover sexual violence and assault. It also prohibits retaliation on those who submit complaints about sexual harassment.
The UWT campus has been working on ways to improve their own on-campus resources to help victims and survivors. One such resource which students can readily access is the informative pages found inside restrooms — the “bathroom flyers” — which provide information on reporting an incident as well as providing resources that can be contacted for help.
When asked about how UWT will be handling sexual harassment in the future, Hynes-Wilson said that there is going to be collaboration to develop public awareness campaigns and responses for those who experience sexual violence.
“Free and confidential counseling for the victim/survivor is available through the Counseling Center. Assistance with administrative and noninvestigative reporting options is offered in the Office of Student Advocacy and Support,” Hynes-Wilson said. “We also plan to incorporate information into programming through New Student Orientation, family programs, Residence Life and student leader/student employee trainings. As a final point, we will host a campus forum to discuss a recent climate survey and engage in an open exchange about Title IX resources and reporting policies.”
If you have experienced or are currently experiencing sexual
harassment, or you are looking for ways to help prevent sexual violence,
here is a list of resources which the UW and UWT offer:
UW Sexual Assault Resources
UW Safe Campus Title IX Sexual Misconduct
UWT Human Resources (For Staff and Faculty)
UWT Campus Safety and Security (Located in Dougan 180)
UWT Counseling Center
UWT Office of Student Advocacy and Support (Located in MAT 209)