At Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, I proudly voted in favor of approving an updated non-discrimination and harassment policy.
This policy is a statement of the UMass system’s commitment to fighting discrimination and harassment on campus, and promoting a safe, inclusive environment for all.
The old policy specifically prohibited sexual harassment. The updated policy expands its scope to prevent all forms of harassment, sexual or otherwise, that may impede an individual’s ability to experience a safe academic or living space. Another update includes a new protection that prevents retaliation against an individual who might file a complaint.
It is also worthy of attention that the UMass non-discrimination and harassment policy applies to not just students, but also faculty, staff, visitors, contractors, and volunteers.
With widespread discrimination and harassment constituting major national reforms on campuses across the country, and in light of such unjust cases such as the Brock Turner case, it is critical that the UMass system be pro-active rather than re-active.
Recent social-cultural movements that have swept college campuses have increased the risk of discrimination and harassment occurring. It is of critical importance and note that UMass reviewed their policy, which had not been reviewed since summer of 1992, and revised the outdated policy.
Currently, revisions to the UMass Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action are being drafted.
As the UMass Lowell student trustee, I personally commit to advancing the best interests of all students. I will continue to advocate for a safe and inclusive learning, working, and living culture, and will support students who do the same.
Following my belief in supporting such an environment and the students who contribute to creating this environment, I support the students who have held or will hold events designed to generate civil, intellectual conversations around such controversial issues as race, religion, gender, sexuality, age, and military status.
Under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, students are entitled to encouraging these discussions and expressing themselves through appropriate means. I fully stand in solidarity of students who wish to create spaces where these topics are engaged, and I commit to producing such dialogue myself.