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Collective responsibility is key to creating a safe and inclusive campus culture

Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment free from sex- and gender-based harassment is essential to delivering on our University’s promise to provide a vibrant working and learning experience for everyone in our UW community. It is only when our students, staff and faculty feel safe and welcome that we can cultivate and maintain a collaborative culture that advances the learning and discovery that is at the core of our mission.

Providing such an environment requires not only creating and enacting measures to prevent discrimination and harassment, but also ensuring that when an issue occurs, we are proactive in addressing and correcting the problem. This responsibility is important to me as an individual, but it’s only by taking shared responsibility that we can succeed in building a culture in which we all thrive.

Our Office of the Title IX Coordinator, led by Valery Richardson, helps ensure that the UW is upholding state and federal laws designed to protect individuals from sex- or gender-based discrimination, and also works with the UW community to move beyond compliance towards prevention, inclusion and equity. The Title IX office provides multiple campus-supported platforms for reporting issues and accessing support. Community members who have experienced any form of sexual violence, discrimination or harassment can access the support they need, for themselves or someone else, by requesting help directly via the new online Title IX reporting form.

To better serve individuals making a report, Title IX case managers are available to provide information and support when a report is received. Confidential advocates remain available to work directly with survivors to provide support, such as help in reporting to the University or the police, creating a safety plan and ensuring access to medical and mental health resources. And SafeCampus is another valuable resource if you or someone you know is at risk, including from sexual violence, stalking or relationship violence.

We all have an important role to play when it comes to ensuring an environment of respect and inclusivity. I encourage staff and faculty to review the available resources to be better prepared for assisting and supporting our community members. And I’m grateful to everyone in our community who has completed the Husky Prevention & Response course. To date, nearly 50,000 students — and roughly the same number of employees — have completed this course, which provides important information about resources, reporting options and prevention strategies. UW staff and faculty are also encouraged to review the support resources provided for our students and employees who are pregnant or are experiencing pregnancy-related conditions that may require adjustments or accommodations.

As an institution and a community, we will always seek to improve and expand our efforts to foster a safe and welcoming environment free of sex- and gender-based harassment, discrimination and violence. Above all, this work takes all of us because caring for one another is what makes our UW community such a remarkable and rewarding place to learn, work and create impact for the public benefit. Thank you to everyone in the UW community for doing their part.