LTE: From the Office of Equity

Northwestern University Office of Equity

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As the year winds down, the Office of Equity would like to thank our student community for your partnership in working toward a culture of access, belonging and accountability. Every time we reached out to students for input and support, you met us with honesty, energy, drive and great ideas. Examples of what we were able to accomplish together include:

  • Receiving input from our community on ways to improve and clarify the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct.  
  • The Office of Equity convened its inaugural Student Advisory Board. This group of six graduate and five undergraduate students meets regularly to provide feedback, guidance and perspective on all aspects of the Office’s work. We had some honest conversations during our meetings, and we know our work will be better because of this. We would like to thank our 11 Student Advisory Board members for their work and candor.
  • The Office of Equity is committed to providing sexual misconduct prevention and response training to all students. During Winter quarter, 16,360 students completed an online sexual misconduct prevention training, and throughout the year we met about 2,100 of you through our in-person training offerings.
  • In April, over 5,500 students —  just over 25% of our student body —  participated in the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct. This is a significantly higher participation rate than the 2015 Climate Survey, and we are grateful to our partners across campus who helped spread the word (including ASG, MARS, SHAPE, SPEAK, College Feminists, Res Services, MSA, The Women’s Center, OFSL and CARE). We will receive our survey results in the coming months, and we look forward to working together to decide how these data can inform our sexual misconduct prevention and response efforts moving forward.
  • For the second year in a row, we partnered with CARE and ASG to provide training for student group leaders. We trained over 240 students, who now have a starter kit for creating cultures of healthy sexuality in their student groups and beyond.  
  • Finally, we were thrilled to partner with students on events like January’s panel on the proposed changes to federal policy on sexual misconduct and April’s panel on sexual violence response at Northwestern. We are in awe of the work and commitment that students put into making these events happen and know that both events sparked important dialogue and connections.

We look forward to continuing this work with you next year and to expanding our efforts. Our work next year will focus on how to better reach traditionally underserved students and continuing to educate our community on all forms of discrimination and harassment (including discrimination and harassment based on race, disability and sexual orientation).

We know there is much work to do, and that this year was just a beginning. Please contact us any time with feedback, questions about ways to get involved, or questions about available resources. The Office of Equity is here to serve this community; we are your office.

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