Dean of Students elevates bias response role, hires new assistant director

The university is making an additional investment in fostering a positive campus climate by elevating the role of bias response coordinator to an assistant director in the Dean of Students Office. Jenna Hee-Jung Friedman, an experienced advocate for students, has been hired for the position.

“Our goal is for all students to feel valued and included,” says Dean of Students Christina Olstad. “If students experience behavior that doesn’t meet our expectations, we want to make sure there is a trusted resource they can turn to for support. I’m confident that Jenna will be that person.”

Photo: Portrait of Jenna Hee-Jung Friedman

Jenna Hee-Jung Friedman

“I am very excited to be back in Madison and to be working with the UW community to promote a positive and inclusive campus climate,” says Friedman. “It is my hope that the students feel supported and valued during their time here. I am impressed by the level of engagement of the student body and I very much look forward to collaborating with the various student groups and programs on campus to enhance the student experience at UW.”

Students may use an online form to report incidents of bias and hate on or off campus. The primary purpose of reporting is so support can be provided to the affected individuals. However, reports are evaluated for potential violations of university policy and/or criminal law to determine if further investigation is required.

Where appropriate, the process also may include facilitating educational conversations so those who have caused a negative impact can hear from the person affected.

Friedman will work with a team to ensure that campus units respond to students’ needs effectively and compassionately, while advocating for their interests. She’ll also focus on proactive ways to educate the campus community.

Friedman most recently served as an assistant faculty specialist in the Office of Gender Equity at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology there and her law degree at Temple University Beasley School of Law. Her legal studies included a year as a visiting student at the UW Law School, in 2010-11. Her professional experience also includes work with the Rise Law Center of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Dane County CASA.

She will start work on Jan. 6.