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October 20, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

Sexual misconduct, inclusive of sexual harassment and sexual and gender violence, is an issue of great concern to all of us. What's more, its far-reaching impact can be felt in the home, on the college campus, and in the workplace. In fact, recent reports by the White House reveal that:

  • One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college.
  • Forty percent of survivors fear reprisal by their attacker.
  • Repeat victimization is common: Over a third of the women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults.
  • Women of all races are targeted, but some are more vulnerable than others:
    • 33.5 percent of multiracial women have been raped, as have 27 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women, compared to 15 percent of Hispanic, 22 percent of black, and 19 percent of white women.

Moreover, domestic violence has a significant economic impact on the workplace that can be measured not only in direct costs for medical and mental health services but also in increased management time, productivity loss, and staff replacement costs.

Thanks to federal legislation that requires institutions to focus on these issues and a public awareness campaign launched by the White House (It’s On Us), there’s a concerted effort taking place on college campuses and at other organizations across the country to put a stop to sexual misconduct. The Clery Act, the Violence against Women Act, and new Title IX Sexual Harassment guidelines implemented last year have contributed to a broader discussion on how to create a more secure environment for students and employees.

The University of Miami is fully engaged in this effort, and we’re committed to creating greater awareness of sexual misconduct, including sexual violence, and taking extensive steps to recognize, reject, and eliminate it.

The University launched an enterprise-wide awareness program to ensure the safety of everyone on campus. The program includes educational brochures and posters, as well as an interactive online training course designed to help faculty and staff recognize, avoid, and report abusive behavior. There’s a comprehensive and confidential procedure available for anyone to report sexual misconduct behavior. We’ve appointed a Title IX coordinator and several deputy coordinators to respond quickly and effectively when needed.

To succeed, the Human Resources Office needs your full support for the initiatives and programs planned throughout the year, which include:

  • the New Hire Employee Orientation program that acquaints employees with opportunities and their responsibility to ensure and maintain a safe work environment;
  • promoting a respectful and safe office environment and campus community through policies and procedures;
  • engaging the University community in educational awareness and prevention programs through seminars, webinars, and other outreach activities; and
  • ensuring that individuals who experience such behavior be aware of available University resources and other external assistance, should any be required.

We are all responsible for doing our part to take action against sexual harassment and violence on campus. If you witness inappropriate behavior, contact Workplace Equity and Performance, Faculty Affairs (Coral Gables/RSMAS or Miller School of Medicine), or the UM Police Department. Students should contact the Dean of Students office at 305-284-5353. You can also file an anonymous complaint through ’Cane Watch for employees or ’Canes Care for ’Canes for students. I encourage all UM faculty and staff to complete the training program offered through ULearn (keyword VAWA).

Thank you for making the U a place that respects and cares for everyone.