Formation of Working Group on Gender-based Harassment Prevention

February 26th, 2019

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

I write to announce the formation of a working group of faculty and university leaders from across the Charles River and Medical Campuses, tasked with developing a set of recommendations for how BU can advance its efforts to provide a working and learning environment that is free of gender-based harassment.

The recent National Academies report on Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides a disturbing account of the scope of gender harassment in these fields. According to the National Academies, academic environments have the second-highest rate of sexual harassment (58%) when compared to the military (69%), the private sector, and the government. Since the report’s release, several federal science agencies have announced their intention to create policies to address gender harassment perpetrated by grantees. In addition, the National Academies is forming an “Action Collaborative” that will bring together a group of like-minded universities to work collectively on the issue.

The Working Group on Gender-based Harassment Prevention will be charged with identifying best practices in preventing gender-based harassment, understanding the efforts underway by the National Academies and other national groups, and developing a set of recommended action steps to cultivate a culture and climate across all disciplines at BU that rejects gender-based harassment. The Working Group is expected to deliver its recommendations to me by September 30, 2019.

As one of the first universities in the United States to open all its divisions to female students, the first coeducational medical college in the world, and the first American university to award a PhD to a woman, BU has a historic commitment to providing a welcoming and respectful setting for students, faculty, and staff of all genders. It is a commitment etched into our narrative and an essential part of BU’s continuing effort to attract the very best faculty and students to our campuses.

I want to thank, in advance, the members of the Working Group for their time, thoughtfulness, and energy advancing this important initiative and to give special acknowledgement to Vice President for Federal Relations Jennifer Grodsky, who has agreed to serve as Chair. I look forward to receiving the group’s recommendations early in the fall semester and to sharing next steps with the University community in the months ahead.

Working Group on Gender-based Harassment Prevention

Jennifer Grodsky, Vice President for Federal Relations


Karen Antman, Dean, School of Medicine; and Medical Campus Provost

Emily Barman, Associate Dean, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; and Professor of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

Victor Coelho, Professor of Music; and Chair of Musicology & Ethnomusicology, College of Fine Arts

Hyeouk Chris Hahm, Associate Professor and Chair of Social Research, School of Social Work

Aviva Lee-Parritz, Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, School of Medicine

Naomi Mann, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, School of Law

Elise Morgan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Emily Rothman, Professor of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health

Christopher Schmitt, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences

Michael Sorenson, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Natural Sciences; and Professor of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences

Mounika Vutukuru, President, Graduate Women in Science & Engineering

Muhammad Zaman, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, College of Engineering

Ex Officio Members:
Julie Sandell, Senior Associate Provost

Gloria Waters, Vice President and Associate Provost for Research

Formation of Working Group on Gender-based Harassment Prevention – 2.26.19

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