Experts focus on sexual misconduct and DEI in panel discussion


Culture change, power structures, and reporting and accountability were the areas of focus in a panel discussion about promoting an inclusive and equitable climate through the elimination of sexual misconduct at the University of Michigan.

The discussion Monday was part of the university’s annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit.

“We have to keep clear on what our vision is — how to create a respectful, safe, healthy place for students and the people who work here,” said Kaaren Williamsen, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, and one of the experts on the panel.

Other panelists included:

• Elizabeth Armstrong, professor of sociology, organizational studies and women’s studies, LSA.

• Pamela Heatlie, associate vice provost for academic and faculty affairs, senior director for institutional equity and Title IX coordinator.

• Deloris Hunt, chief human resources officer at Michigan Medicine.

• Robert Ortega, associate professor of social work and faculty ombuds.

The panelists shared their expertise and experience as members of the working group charged by the president earlier this year with reviewing existing programming and activities related to sexual misconduct, and developing recommendations for faculty and staff education and training.

The panel was moderated by Daniel Little, professor of public policy and sociology, and co-chair of the work group’s education advisory group, as well as co-chair of the presidential working group in partnership with Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for human resources.

In September, President Mark Schlissel announced new measures to better prevent sexual misconduct and provide educational and support resources for the U-M community that were informed by the recommendations of the group.

New efforts include a simple, centralized website devoted to sexual misconduct reporting, prevention and education, as well as a new mandatory training for all faculty and staff that will launch later this fall.


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