Committee on sexual misconduct releases report, recommendations
October 17, 2019
Chancellor Robert Jones sent out a Massmail on Tuesday regarding the results of the Committee on Faculty Sexual Misconduct Report.
The Committee was organized Jan. 23 and conducted an analysis throughout the year to recommend adjustments to current policies and provisions.
The report provides evaluations of current University policies regarding sexual misconduct, as well as recommendations for policy changes.
Since an extensive expose by ProPublica Illinois raised questions and outrage over the University’s handling of cases regarding faculty members accused of sexual misconduct, there has been intense scrutiny over University misconduct policies and their effectiveness in keeping students and employees safe.
In an interview with ProPublica, the Chancellor and Provost Andreas Cangellaris said the University would end the use of controversial confidentiality clauses in agreements between faculty and accusers that keeps findings under wraps after faculty members leave.
The report’s executive summary states that the most commonly reported form of misconduct was sexual harassment by faculty members.
The summary of recommendations includes eliminating the “severe or pervasive” requirement, another controversial aspect of the University’s misconduct policies that defines an offensive action as misconduct, only when it is repeated and causes significant workplace disruption.
Other recommendations include targeting broader instances of sexual harassment and misconduct, as well as revising policy language to be more in line with national Title IX regulations.
In the Massmail, Jones thanked the members of the committee for their work and stressed the group’s diversity in membership and perspectives, providing an extensive list of groups the committee consulted to gain a greater understanding of challenges facing the University and possible solutions.
In the report, the committee said even if all of the recommendations included go into effect, changes at the University must continue in other areas.
“Problems of sexual harassment cannot be fully addressed…without profound changes in culture and climate that go well beyond the recommendations in this report,” the report stated.
Jones said in his statement that the release of the report indicates the University’s stated goal to “build a campus that is intolerant of sexual harassment and that empowers every member of our university community.”