Progress Updates

The Rutgers Committee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Culture Change issued its report in spring 2019 with a series of recommendations to cultivate culture change and foster an environment at Rutgers free from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

The following update from Rutgers Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Barbara Lee outlines the work underway on the committee’s recommendations.

  • Consensual Relationships Policy

A new CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS POLICY (60.1.32) was issued by the University Senate and it went into effect on June 2, 2020.  The policy comprises the recommendations of the Subcommittee on Consensual Relationships, focusing particularly on those within the academic setting of the University.   

The policy prohibits the following relationships:

(i) “any Academic Supervisor [as defined by the policy] from engaging in a consensual relationship with any student currently enrolled as an undergraduate at the University”; (ii) “any Academic Supervisor from engaging in a consensual relationship with any graduate or professional student, Postdoctoral Associate or Fellow, or Clinical Resident or Fellow which creates a conflict of interest” in areas specified in the fuller policy; and (iii) “any Internship Supervisor [as defined by the policy], Student Employee (including but not limited to Residence Life Advisors/Assistants, Teaching Assistants, Graduate Assistants and Postdoctoral Associates), and Postdoctoral Fellows from engaging in a consensual relationship with any student, intern, or Postdoctoral Fellow, which creates a conflict of interest because the Internship Supervisor/Student Employee/Postdoctoral Fellow teaches, manages, supervises, advises, or evaluates in any way the other party in an academic setting or living or learning environment, or might reasonably be expected to do so in the future.” 

  • Universitywide Policy Review

As part of the recommendations made by The Rutgers Committee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Culture Change, we regularly review University practices and policies prohibiting sexual harassment and gender discrimination to determine if they need updating.   

  • Transparency in Dissemination of Data Regarding Harassment and Gender Discrimination

Community awareness and engagement are essential to the realization of the University’s commitment to preventing harassment, sexual violence, and discrimination. We share the information in this report in order to be candid and sincere, to acknowledge that these behaviors occur and to show how the University responds to sexual misconduct.

See the following link for details. Rutgers University’s First Annual Report Regarding Investigations of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Against Faculty, Staff and Third Parties for Complaints Initiated July 1, 2018—June 30, 2019. The Report can be found on the new Sexual Harassment Prevention and Culture Change website here.

  • Criteria Statements for Teaching, Scholarship, and Service

We are currently working with the Office of General Counsel to include language from University Policy 60.5.1, Statement on Professional Ethics, in the formal criteria statements on Teaching, Scholarship, and Service. Plans are also underway to instruct deans that the expanded criteria are to be included in every offer letter to new faculty, and when notice is given to faculty being evaluated for reappointment, promotion, and/or tenure.

  • Needs Assessment for Development of Tool kit for Faculty, Chairs, and Deans

We are in the process of conducting small focus-group sessions with department chairs, deans, faculty, and graduate program directors to obtain their input on what should be included in a tool kit that would help them most effectively respond to informal reports of harassment or discrimination, including how and where to direct individuals who wish to make a complaint. 

  • Vetting potential hires for unprofessional or harassing conduct

Working with University Human Resources and the Office of General Counsel, and informed by work already underway at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California–Davis, we are considering how best to improve the vetting of prospective faculty and staff for findings of unprofessional or harassing conduct at previous institutions, including adding questions to the background checks on all prospective employees. 

We are proud of our work to date in this area, but much more needs to be done if we are to create a culture where every member of our community is free from sexual misconduct and harassment of all kinds. We encourage you to follow our work closely via this website and to join us.