The University of Michigan’s current work to address sexual misconduct on the Ann Arbor campus builds on more than 30 years of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center providing support and resources for those in the university community impacted by sexual harassment and sexual assault.
We are committed to creating a culture across our campus where all members of the university community — students, faculty, staff and visitors — feel safe and supported.
Our most recent efforts to improve our environment include:
NEW EQUITY, CIVIL RIGHTS AND TITLE IX OFFICE
A new Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office has been created with an expanded focus on care, support, education and prevention while continuing to investigate and address allegations of misconduct and discrimination. This multidisciplinary unit will house many of the critical functions around equity and civil rights work, including Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other forms of civil rights discrimination and harassment. It will replace and subsume the university’s Office for Institutional Equity.
- U-M overhauls its approach to addressing sexual misconduct
- Description of Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office’s rationale and organization
TITLE IX ADVISORY GROUP
A large advisory committee of students, faculty and staff has been established to provide perspectives and input on policies, procedures, prevention efforts and other matters related to sexual and gender-based misconduct. The committee works closely with the Title IX coordinator and deputy Title IX coordinator.
CULTURE CHANGE INITIATIVE
A major culture change initiative is underway and a group led by Sonya Jacobs and Dean of Nursing Patricia Hurn will be engaging with the U-M community to gather feedback and establish new community expectations, workplace norms and shared values through several methods, including campus surveys, focus groups and townhalls. This working group consists of students, faculty and staff from the Ann Arbor campus and Michigan Medicine.
- Working group to develop cultural change process, survey U-M community
- Working group on culture change members
U-M has put in place a best-practices policy that prohibits supervisors from initiating or attempting to initiate an intimate relationship with anyone they supervise. A supervisor who violates the policy could face dismissal. There’s also an employee policy that prohibits sexual, romantic, amorous and/or dating relationships between teachers and learners under SPG 601.22.
The university has revised its policy on emeritus status for retiring faculty members to include, for the first time, a process to revoke that status from faculty members for misconduct or other compelling circumstances.
Hiring and promotions
Work continues on enhancing the review process for board-approved appointments and appointments for significant positions. This includes ensuring that information about policy violations and other misconduct by candidates is available to decision makers and systematically considered.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Work has been completed on a final sexual and gender-based misconduct policy that will go into effect Oct. 1, 2021. An interim policy — put into place in August 2020 to meet federal guidance at that time — will remain in effect on all three campuses and at Michigan Medicine until the new policy goes into effect. This policy includes definitions for prohibited conduct, including sexual and gender-based misconduct, and Title IX misconduct, separate procedures for addressing allegations against students and those against employees and third parties, and further clarifies available confidential resources and ways to report misconduct.
Protections From Retaliation
The current policy on sexual and gender-based misconduct prohibits retaliation for reporting an incident of prohibited conduct, being alleged to have committed prohibited conduct, or participating (or declining to participate) in a university process related to such an incident. A team is also developing a standalone policy explicitly prohibiting retaliation under broader circumstances across the university community.
Procedures For Students
Sexual and gender-based misconduct matters involving student Respondents or student-to-student conduct are addressed under the Interim Student Procedures.
Procedures For Faculty and Staff
Sexual and gender-based misconduct matters involving U-M employees or Third Party Respondents are addressed under the Interim Employee Procedures.
PREVENTION & TRAINING
U-M provides sexual assault awareness and prevention education as well as bystander training to all incoming students, and offers employees education and training to foster and maintain a welcoming, supportive, inclusive and diverse working and learning environment.
The university continues to research the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus to ensure it has the most effective policies and procedures in place for addressing matters impacting the U-M community.