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Preventing Sexual Harassment Working Group Report

In 2021, Anne Curzan, Dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA), convened a Working Group for Preventing Sexual Harassment to develop actionable plans that address sexual harassment in the college. Professors Lilia Cortina and Anna Kirkland co-chaired the working group, with Associate Dean Fiona Lee serving as the liaison to the LSA Dean’s Office.

The working group’s charge arose out of a landmark 2018 report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) on the causes, contours, and consequences of sexual harassment in higher education. Reviewing the research record, the NASEM report finds that most sexual harassment has disrespect at its root, and that reporting and investigative processes are necessary but insufficient to prevent this abuse.

The working group’s report contains a number of recommendations to the dean and college leaders for concrete action that will (1) address gender harassment, (2) create an inclusive and respectful work environment, (3) improve transparency and accountability, (4) diffuse hierarchies and dependencies, and (5) strive for strong and diverse leadership. The report addresses sexual harassment in the context of gender and other social identities, such as race and sexuality. It is important to note that among other features, this report focuses on proposing actionable changes to LSA policies and practices based on the NASEM recommendations—not on problem assessment, root cause analysis, development of new recommendations, or enactment of the proposed changes.

Working Group Members

Lilia Cortina, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor of Psychology, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Management and Organizations (co-chair)

Anna Kirkland, Executive Director, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies (co-chair)

Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Sherry B. Ortner Collegiate Professor of Sociology and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies

Julie Biteen, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics

Lindsay Cogswell, Team Supervisor, Human Resources

Imara Dawson, Managing Director, International Institute

Frieda Ekotto, Lorna Goodison Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, Comparative Literature, and Francophone Studies

Paula Hathaway, Manager, Graduate Education

Linda Kentes, Senior Manager, Academic Affairs

Dorine Lawrence-Hughes, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education

Jack Miller, Lecturer IV in Statistics

Kevin O’Neill, Chief Administrator, Women’s and Gender Studies

Chris Poulsen, Associate Dean for Natural Sciences, and Henry N. Pollack Collegiate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Nathan Sadowsky, Student Administration Assistant Associate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Study Staff

Mikalia Dennis, Project Coordinator, DEI Office

Fiona Lee, Associate Dean for Social Sciences, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Psychology

Leanna Papp, Doctoral Candidate, Joint Program in Psychology and Women’s Studies

Kamaria Porter, Doctoral Candidate, Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education