Chancellor's Comments: Title IX & Campus SafetyFebruary 20, 2017
University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen reported today that he has signed a voluntary resolution agreement with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). This VRA is the culmination of three years’ work, and is the product of the hard work of many people at UAS and across the UA System. This agreement focuses on improving campus safety and combating sexual misconduct. The President's message, the OCR findings report, and other information about the Title IX compliance review can be found at the University of Alaska Title IX Compliance website.
As Chancellor I welcome the results of this compliance review. All members of the university community—students, employees, and visitors—have a right to be free from sexual misconduct. A safe campus environment for learning is a strategic priority for UAS. The findings are a catalyst for making improvements in line with that priority--improvements that are already underway and will be pursued aggressively under the new agreement.
Specifically, we are working to make our campuses safer by educating employees and students alike about Title IX policies, resources, and practices, by providing resources for those impacted by sexual assault and harassment, and by ensuring that due process rights of all parties are protected. As you know, we have a full time Title IX coordinator—Lori Klein—who reports directly to me and who coordinates Title IX compliance with staff on all three UAS campuses--Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka. To date we have:
- Implemented Title IX training for all employees,
- Provided all students with the opportunity to participate in Title IX and Green Dot/bystander training,
- Ensured that we respond to all reports in a timely manner,
- Developed partnerships with community organizations--like those of AWARE here in Juneau--to provide support and advocacy services to those who’ve been victims of sexual assault,
- Signed a memorandum of agreement with Juneau Police and moving forward with similar MOAs with other law enforcement agencies, and
- Developed an implementation plan for a common UA-wide Title IX case tracking system
These are just some initial steps to comply with OCR findings. More is needed and will be done. Alaska has one of the highest rates of sexual assault and interpersonal violence in our nation. The University of Alaska can be a leader in combating this in our communities. The findings of the OCR review help us to identify best practices in prevention and response, correct deficiencies in our processes, and support those whose lives have been impacted. Only by taking these steps will we achieve a culture of safety and respect that all Alaskans deserve.
The UA Board of Regents and President Johnsen have made it clear that students and employees alike deserve a safe educational and workplace environment. I ask for your engagement and support as we work together to achieve the goal of safer campuses and safer communities. As always, I value your feedback and ideas about how best to achieve this goal here at UAS.