In the ongoing national conversation about gender discrimination and sexual harassment, the University of Wisconsin–Madison is reaffirming its commitment to an environment that is safe and free from harassment and intimidation. We want to remind students, faculty, and staff of programs that provide support services and improve prevention and reporting of sexual harassment on campus. And we also want to acknowledge that coverage of these issues may be triggering for survivors and potentially contribute to additional trauma.
It is more important than ever that departments, schools/colleges, and the university overall to pay close attention to concerns and complaints that are raised, including investigating and taking appropriate action in a timely manner.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment, we want you to know that help is available for survivors. We urge you to contact one or more of the following confidential and non-confidential resources for students, faculty, and staff on campus and within the Madison community:
- To receive confidential support: UHS or Employee Assistance Office
- To receive non-confidential support: Dean of Students Office
- To receive information about campus policies including how to file a complaint (non-confidential): Title IX Coordinator
- Rape Crisis Center (confidential): 24/7 Help line: 608-251-7273
- Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (confidential): Help line: 608-251-4445
- Additional on and off campus, confidential and non-confidential support can be found here.
The 2015 national survey on sexual assault and misconduct conducted by the Association of American Universities served as a “wake-up call” for campus on sexual harassment. The survey found that half of all students reported having experienced sexual harassment, including by fellow students, faculty, and other university employees.
Since then, UW-Madison has taken a number of actions to more effectively prevent and respond to harassment, including:
- Creating a full-time Title IX Coordinator position in 2015 and placing that position in a newly created Office of Compliance in 2016.
- Requiring sexual harassment/sexual assault prevention training for graduate students (pilot in fall 2016; full launch in fall 2017) – undergraduate students have been required to complete the training since 2013.
- Requiring sexual harassment/sexual assault prevention training for all employees, beginning in July 2017. Employees who do not complete the training will not be eligible for general wage adjustments, and supervisors who have employees who have not completed the training will not be eligible for general wage increases. As of early November, about 90 percent of employees had completed the training.
- Updating policies on sexual harassment, including better defining which university employees are “Title IX responsible employees” and have an obligation to report complaints to the Title IX Coordinator.
- Adopting a policy and grievance processes to address hostile and intimidating behavior.
- Hiring of two additional victim advocates in fall 2016 (for a total of three) in Survivor Services.