In an email to the Duke community Tuesday, President Vincent Price announced a campus "self-assessment" of sexual harassment.
Price acknowledged that there has been a “profound moment of reckoning about sexual harassment in the academic world,” and that Duke is among those universities that have witnessed situations where faculty and students faced hostile environments.
Price indicated he wanted to be proactive and prevent harassment before it occurs. In a report that The Chronicle published last week, two students who detailed their experience with sexual harassment at Duke noted that anti-harassment training for staff—currently an online module administered by Duke Human Resources—was not "effective or meaningful."
In his email, Price announced that he has asked the leaders of all academic units to self-assess the current sexual harassment climate. He wrote that Provost Sally Kornbluth, Chancellor for Health Affairs A. Eugene Washington and their teams should develop an assessment plan by May 15 and work with academic leaders to develop action plans by Sept. 1, 2018.
“The purpose of this self-assessment is three-fold: first, to understand the extent of this problem at Duke; second, to identify best practices and positive steps that have been taken in some units, here or elsewhere; and third, to advance a university-wide dialogue about culture, behavior, conduct and process that will lead to accountability and meaningful change,” Price wrote. “Through these assessments, we will be able, with the help of our community, to create clear plans of action that address issues of concern.”
The entire effort will be coordinated by Abbas Benmamoun, vice provost for faculty advancement, and Ann Brown, vice dean for faculty in the School of Medicine.
“There is, of course, no easy or simple solution to what is a long-standing problem in the academy and society,” Price noted. “However, it is my hope that, by looking critically at our own environment and taking the appropriate actions, we can make real progress toward a workplace in which every member of our community can thrive.”
Check back for updates to this developing story.