Targeting sexual harrassment on campus

It’s On Us teamed up with representatives from the University’s Title IX office and the Human Rights Clinic at the Law School to host a series of events bringing awareness to sexual assault and harassment on campus as part of their It’s On Us: Week of Action. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

By Jenny Hudak

It’s On Us teamed up with representatives from the University’s Title IX office and the Human Rights Clinic at the Law School to host a series of events bringing awareness to sexual assault and harassment on campus as part of their It’s On Us: Week of Action. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

Targeting sexual harrassment on campus

By Jenny Hudak
The University of Miami has joined forces with a national collaborative to help raise awareness and implement policies to prevent sexual harassment in higher education.

The University of Miami has joined the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to form an Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education.  

The Action Collaborative aims to prevent and effectively respond to sexual harassment. A 2018 report by NASEM concluded that system-wide changes to the culture and climate in higher education are needed to prevent and address sexual harassment. The report also included a roadmap for institutions of higher education to make these changes.

The Action Collaborative brings together leaders from the University and 40 additional academic institutions to work toward targeted, collective action on addressing and preventing sexual harassment among all people in higher education. 

Beverly Pruitt, assistant vice president of workplace equity and Title IX coordinator, and Ashley Falcon, assistant professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies and co-chair of the President’s Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention and Education, serve as the University’s primary representatives on the Action Collaborative and will collaborate on developing new campus policies, strategies, and programs.  

“We look forward to participating in this active space where colleges, universities, and other research and training institutions will identify, research, develop, and implement efforts that move beyond basic legal compliance,” Pruitt said. “We're focused on evidence-based policies and practices for addressing and preventing all forms of sexual harassment and promoting a campus climate of civility and respect.”

The Action Collaborative is tasked with four main goals: raising awareness about sexual harassment, elevating policies and strategies for reducing and preventing sexual harassment, setting a shared research agenda for this work, and developing a standard for measuring progress toward reducing and preventing sexual harassment in higher education.  

Joining the Action Collaborative will supplement the existing efforts of administration and students on campus to engage in dialogue and take active measures to prevent sexual harassment on campus. 

The University’s community engagement plan for the Action Collaborative outlines the university’s plan of action to engage student groups. This includes strengthening the presence of the Title IX office and growing the It’s On Us Ambassador Program through recruitment of campus volunteers to increased activity within the School of Law, Miller School of Medicine, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. 

Its On Us ambassadors On Nov. 13, It’s On Us teamed up with representatives from the University’s Title IX office and the Human Rights Clinic at the Law School to host a series of events bringing awareness to sexual assault and harassment on campus as part of their It’s On Us: Week of Action. Students who attended discussed the importance of bystander intervention during instances of sexual violence.

Sayesha Reddi, a junior studying architecture is the co-programming chair of It’s On Us. She said joining the Action Collaborative shows the U’s commitment to changing the culture surrounding sexual assault and harassment. 

“I have personally seen how this administration works to combat these issues on campus, raising awareness, giving us every resource we could ever need to address these issues,” Reddi said. “As long as we create this collaborative environment, there are real changes that happen, and joining this Action Collaborative is just an example of that.” 

For additional information on the University’s Title IX efforts against sexual violence at our university, please visit titleix.miami.edu.