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Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Ed

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this year, we announced that Northwestern is one of 28 institutional founding members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s (NASEM) Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. This vitally important initiative is designed to change the climate at Northwestern and at colleges and universities across the country.

The collaborative was established in spring 2019 as a four-year effort, and the work is already underway. Later this month, the action collaborative will hold the first national public summit, “Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education,” at the University of Washington in Seattle. Northwestern will be represented at the Nov. 19-20 summit by Title IX Coordinator Colleen Johnston, Director of Equity Outreach and Education Kate Harrington-Rosen and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences Carole LaBonne.

The goals of the summit mirror our goals for Northwestern: to identify and elevate promising practices for preventing sexual harassment in higher education. We hope that by engaging in dialogue with other universities and research institutions, we can gain diverse perspectives on how to tackle this issue. We further hope to develop and deploy efforts to move beyond basic legal compliance — to evidence-based policies and practices for addressing and preventing all forms of sexual harassment.

The summit is free and open to the public with options to participate virtually through an interactive webcast. I encourage members of the Northwestern community to virtually attend all or parts of the summit. Registration is available here. You can find the summit’s schedule of sessions and speakers here.

As outlined in my Oct. 1 letter with President Schapiro and Senior Vice President Johnson, the University is taking a holistic approach to combating discrimination and harassment on our campuses. From a new training program about all forms of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct, to engaging our community around the results from the 2019 Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, we are committed to fostering a learning, working and living environment where all members of our community can thrive, free from sexual misconduct. Our participation in the NASEM Action Collaborative is vital to this effort.

In the months and years to come, you will be hearing more from my office about our efforts to achieve these goals and how you can play a part.