Supporting all survivors

As you may be aware from the teal ribbons and signage around campus, April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault is an important social issue that touches each of our lives. Survivors are our students, our colleagues, and, for some, ourselves. Similar to so many social issues of our time, this issue must be understood through a lens of power, oppression, diversity, and social justice. Sexual violence impacts people from all backgrounds – all genders, sexual orientations, races, religious groups, abilities, veteran status, and ages.    
 
I stand behind the messaging on campus; at UW Bothell, we can do more by listening to, believing in and supporting all survivors. President Cauce has also shared her support for this effort. While a dedicated month helps raise visibility and awareness, it is not enough to change the culture of sexual and relationship violence.
 
Therefore, I am pleased to announce the launch of a campus‐wide initiative against sexual assault and relationship violence. If UW Bothell is going to be a welcoming and inclusive community that embraces diversity as one if its core values, we need to do more. As an integral part of our larger diversity action, I have asked the chair of Chancellor’s Diversity Council to take the next step by charging a committee of the Council to assess and coordinate our prevention efforts and support for survivors on campus and to coordinate with tri-campus groups such as the President’s Title IX Steering Committee.
 
Fortunately, tremendous groundwork has been established through grassroots organizing spearheaded by S.A.V.E. (Sexual Assault and Violence Education) student president Kyra Laughlin and faculty members Lauren Lichty, Karen Rosenberg, and Kari Lerum. Through this new Committee Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, along with the hiring of a full‐time UW Bothell Victim Advocate and Educator (national candidate search underway), we will bring together students, staff, and faculty to develop evidence-based, data-driven institutional practices that demonstrate our commitment to addressing sexual and relationship violence. In addition, this committee and the council will recommend and help facilitate training and education against sexual assault, sexual harassment and relationship violence.
 
Though Sexual Assault Awareness Month has ended, our commitment has not. Collaborative cross‐campus and tri‐campus engagement will allow us to coordinate the many ongoing efforts, make the best use of our existing resources, and identify opportunities for growth. These actions and many others are all a part of ongoing efforts to take a comprehensive and strategic approach to further develop a culture of safety and security and of diversity and inclusion for all of our community members. 
 
If you are interested in participating in this work, please send an email describing your current role on campus as well as your experience and/or interest in the joining the committee to my office at uwbchlr@uw.edu. My office will collect your messages for the Diversity Council.
 
If you wish to share other comments or thoughts on this initiative, your input is welcome and appreciated as well. I look forward to UW Bothell's collective efforts in promoting awareness and positive changes around this important issue.