Faculty members appointed to 2019-20 provost committee focused on preventing sexual misconduct

Susan R. Wente, interim chancellor and provost (Vanderbilt University)
Susan R. Wente, interim chancellor and provost (Vanderbilt University)

Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente announced today the 12 faculty members who will serve on the 2019-20 Provost’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention Committee. The committee will support the university’s ongoing work of creating a campus environment that is safe and friendly for all members of the Vanderbilt community.

The committee, which includes faculty members of all ranks and from across the university, will prepare recommendations to evaluate and engage with two recent campus surveys on sexual misconduct and gender harassment.

“Vanderbilt has an imperative to create an environment of respect and safety for anyone who is living, learning or working on our campus,” Wente said. “This committee will ensure that we are listening and responding to the feedback of critical surveys that provide an honest look at our campus climate when it comes to gender harassment. The recommendations of this committee will guide our actions on these issues.”

The committee will review the results of the 2019 faculty and postdoctoral fellow sexual harassment survey and the 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey. Based on those results, the committee will make recommendations for action on how to address concerns and build on strengths outlined in the survey responses. The results of the surveys will be released on Oct. 15, to be followed by the committee’s recommendations.

Rolanda Johnson, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, assistant dean for academics and associate professor, School of Nursing. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

“The feedback and results shared in the survey will drive the action of our committee, and we aim to be as transparent as possible in our reporting and recommendations,” said Rolanda Johnson, chair of the committee and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, assistant dean for academics and associate professor at the School of Nursing. “The members of the committee are all committed to furthering the values of inclusion and equality at Vanderbilt, and we have the full support of the university’s top leaders to pursue those values in the development of our recommendations.”

Through the report and subsequent recommendations, the committee will propose university-wide action items; support schools and colleges in the work of developing localized action plans; collaborate with student offices and organizations that will respond to the climate survey; and recommend a schedule for future survey administration.

Members of the committee include:

  • Rolanda Johnsonchair, associate professor of nursing
  • Stephanie Budwey, Luce Dean’s Faculty Fellow Assistant Professor of the History and Practice of Christian Worship and the Arts
  • Katherine Friedman, associate professor of biological sciences
  • Aimi Hamraie, assistant professor of medicine, health and society
  • Jessica Kennedy, assistant professor of management
  • Stan Link, associate professor of the philosophy and analysis of music
  • David Lubinski, professor of psychology and human development
  • Andrea Page-McCaw, professor of cell and developmental biology
  • Elizabeth Zechmeister, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science
  • Tracey Georgeex officio, vice provost for faculty affairs
  • William Robinson, ex officio, interim vice provost for strategic initiatives
  • Isaac West, ex officio, associate professor of communication studies

The committee is one of several efforts at Vanderbilt to prevent and address sexual misconduct. In 2018-19, Wente, in her role as provost, launched a women’s initiative, which includes a subcommittee focused on campus climate. In April, Vanderbilt was announced as a founding member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. Katherine Friedman and Andrea Page-McCaw, who both serve on the Provost’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention Committee, are the university’s delegates to the National Academies Action Collaborative.

“Vanderbilt has made significant efforts in addressing gender harassment and sexual misconduct at all levels, and the engagement of this committee is one more example of that,” said Cara Tuttle Bell, director of the Project Safe Center, who will work closely with the committee to support implementation of its recommendations. “As a campus, we will never stop moving toward empowering all members of our community to thrive in a safe and respectful environment.”

The committee will meet monthly during the academic year. A former version of the committee, then known as the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, similarly made recommendations in 2016 following the 2015 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault.

For more information and updates, visit the Provost’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention Committee page on the Office of the Provost website.