Letter to the Editor: Sometimes climate change is a good thing

Dear students,

AAU SurveyOn February 11, you’ll receive an email invitation to participate in the Association of American Universities (AAU) Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey to gauge UW-Madison’s environment of sexual violence. Sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence impact our campus community and—with your input—we can work together to make UW-Madison a safer space.

Sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and stalking are violations of UW-Madison policy, and state and federal law. Every student has the right to be safe, and UW-Madison supports healthy, mutually-respectful relationships that are free from violence. We’re dedicated to preventing sexual violence before it happens and, when it does happen, helping address victims’ needs.

When misconduct is reported, UW–Madison will act promptly to investigate, provide safety accommodations for the victim, and address concerns for a hostile environment. All reports will be taken seriously, and investigated thoroughly, promptly, and fairly. Victims of these crimes are entitled to reasonable accommodations, safety measures, and access to information, regardless of whether they choose to report. UW–Madison is committed to addressing common barriers to reporting sexual assault and ensuring the safety of its students. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or dating violence, help is available at UHS.

As students, your involvement in the AAU survey is invaluable and will help shape campus policies and programs. Results from the 2015 survey prompted changes to important programs and services for students, including adding more victim advocates, additional required education for incoming students, and hiring more Title IX investigators. All undergraduate, graduate, and professional students will receive the survey in your email. Your participation is confidential and voluntary, and any experience you disclose will not be considered a report to the university. Results of the survey will be communicated with the campus community during the fall 2019 semester.

With your input, UW-Madison will continue to respond, prevent, support, and improve. We must work together to create a culture of respect and support on our campus. Join us in making UW–Madison safer for everyone.

Lori Reesor, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.