Task Force Named to Address Sexual Violence, Harassment and Assault

The following statement was sent to the campus community on Dec. 7:

Earlier this semester, the Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) hosted a town hall as part of its Safe at Work campaign that underscored the need to rebuild trust between administrators and students and work as effective collaborators in the struggle against sexual violence, harassment and assault against graduate students.

In response to the serious concerns raised at the town hall, I invited GWIS to join a new task force to address these important issues and make recommendations for improving campus services, policies and practices relating to their prevention and remediation.

The task force will be co-chaired by Enobong (Anna) Hannah Branch, associate chancellor for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, and Tricia R. Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences.

By mutual agreement, the task force membership will also include:

  • Raquel Bryant, Ph.D. candidate in geosciences

  • Christie Cutting, Ph.D. candidate in chemistry

  • Joelle Labastide, postdoctoral fellow in physics

  • John McCarthy, acting provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs

Additional members will be added shortly.

[Named since original publication were:

  • Edwin Murenzi, Ph.D. candidate in molecular and cellular biology

  • Shelly R. Peyton, associate professor and graduate program director, chemical engineering

  • Rui Wang, associate professor and diversity committee chair, College of Information and Computer Science

  • Donna Sabella, Seedworks Endowed Associate Professor of Nursing and Social Justice, College of Nursing]

As I’ve noted before, sexual violence, harassment and assault are national issues. We are committed to changing the campus climate and working directly with departments to prevent and correct the types of injustices highlighted by the Safe at Work campaign. While many initiatives are already underway on campus, there are always steps we can take to improve the campus climate for our students, staff and faculty. I look forward to receiving the recommendations of this task force.

--Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy