Addressing Sexual Misconduct at the University
In light of the recent discourse that has brought sexual misconduct in the workplace to the forefront, I believe it is important to share the University’s policies on sexual assault and sexual harassment. As Dean, I want to make it clear that sexual misconduct that affects our faculty, staff, or students will be taken very seriously. We all have the right to work and learn in a harassment-free environment.
None of us becomes greater at the expense of others. Sexual misconduct, which takes many forms, is often the result of an imbalance of power. Although awareness, reporting, and consequences are important, it is critical to also address the fundamental root of the problem—equity and equality. We should give everyone the resources they need to succeed, and we should treat all people equally well.
A school that does not actively seek diversity runs the risk of missing the high quality of thinking and practice brought about by a multiplicity of views, and the collective accuracy founded on that multiplicity. That is not a risk we want to take. University leadership is working to ensure the proper steps are being taken to stop this damaging behavior on campus. Earlier this week President Kaler announced key elements of his Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct, which is an effort to build a community that confronts sexual misconduct and drives long-term change. A 30-day comment period is now in effect for the community to respond to the elements of the plan. Your input is essential and I encourage all of you to participate.
I expect all of us in the Medical School to treat each other with respect, compassion, and courtesy. If we follow these basic standards of behavior, there is no room for the destruction, humiliation, and powerlessness caused by sexual misconduct.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual misconduct or harassment within the University community, the resources available to file a complaint are listed below:
- Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA)
- UMN Human Resources:
- The Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education
- Employee Assistance Program
Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Dean of the Medical School, interim Vice President for the Health Sciences