Dr. Roger Ward - Continuing the Conversation on Sexual Harassment, Jan, 2019
Jan. 24, 2019
One week ago, President Perman held his quarterly Q&A. He was joined by Dr. Susan Buskirk, DM, MS, deputy chief accountability officer, and Ms. Mikhel Kushner, JD, MSW, UMB's Title IX coordinator, to discuss sexual harassment and Title IX. Recognizing that not all who wanted to attend were able to do so, I am writing today to reiterate some of the key messages from that gathering.
While there are various avenues for reporting sexual harassment, it is essential that concerns reach the University's Title IX coordinator to ensure a comprehensive and systematic response to this issue. All community members are welcome to report concerns and University employees who are not designated confidential resources are required by law and policy to report all available information about any alleged incident or concern to the Title IX office by contacting Ms. Kushner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-706-1852 or submitting a report through the UMB hotline via phone 1-866-594-5220 or online through the hotline icon at the bottom of the main page of the UMB website.
While the University articulates a prohibition against retaliation, sometimes power dynamics and fear prevent individuals from taking necessary action to stop harassment. For this reason, the UMB hotline offers the option for anonymous reporting. While anonymity may limit the University's capacity to respond fully, some action is always possible. It is important that an anonymous reporter return frequently to the hotline platform using their unique case code to receive updates and respond to requests for additional information.
Community involvement is essential to changing any culture. At the Q&A, Dr. Perman announced the formation of a women's advisory council. This collective will work to address various issues impacting women in the University setting. A sexual harassment prevention and response taskforce also will be formed. You will hear more about these two initiatives in the coming weeks as both bodies are established.
Beyond formal levels of involvement, we all play a role in responding to and preventing discrimination including sexual harassment. When you see something that is inappropriate and it is safe to do so, interrupt the interaction to stop the conduct before making a report. If it is unsafe to do so for any reason, stay safe and report the incident or provide your contact information to the person who will report so you can be identified as a witness.
The University takes reports of sexual harassment very seriously. All reports are reviewed and where necessary each is investigated while respecting the privacy and due process rights of all involved.
Roger J. Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA
Senior Vice President for Operations and Institutional Effectiveness
Chief Accountability Officer