In an e-mail sent to students and faculty this morning, Provost Peter Salovey officially announced the creation of the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which will streamline the separate grievance boards of Yale’s 14 schools, including Yale College’s Sexual Harassment Grievance Board.
The UWC will be chaired by philosophy professor Michael Della Rocca. The announcement of the new committee has been planned for some time, University President Richard Levin told to News Wednesday night, though news of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights investigation “might have speeded it up by a week.” The investigation was opened after a complaint filed to the OCR by 16 students and alumni accused Yale administrators of breaching Title IX requirements — which prohibits gender discrimination in schools that receive federal funding — by allowing a hostile sexual environment to persist on campus.
Read the full text of his message below.
To Yale Faculty and Students:
I am pleased to announce the formation of the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (the “UWC”), whose work will begin on July 1, 2011. The UWC will be chaired by Michael Della Rocca, the Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy, and will benefit from his experience and leadership.
Building upon the existing processes of the College and each of the Schools, the UWC is designed to address allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct of every kind, and will be available to all students and faculty across the University. It will consist of students, faculty and administrative members drawn from throughout the University and will be staffed by a dedicated professional who will serve as fact finder. The UWC will play an essential role in improving the consistency and continuity of our procedures. We believe that this streamlining will make it simpler for students and faculty to initiate and pursue any complaint.
As we reported last semester, this Committee reflects substantial work by previous groups, including the Women Faculty Forum. I am most pleased by the diligent efforts of the WFF and two committees chaired by Professor Della Rocca in bringing this University-Wide Committee to fruition. Yale must be a community that is supportive and safe, and does not tolerate sexual misconduct. The new UWC will help to ensure these important results.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology