Creating Equitable Institutions by Cultivating Respectful Citizenship: Promoting a Culture of Respect in the #Metoo Era
- Dr. Pamela Aronson, Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Dr. Francine Banner, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Grace Bradley, Research Assistant, University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Islam Jaffal, Research Assistant, University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Dr. Maureen Linker, Professor of Philosophy, Associate Provost and Director, Mardigian Library, University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Dr. Lisa Martin, Associate Professor of Health Policy Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, Interim Department Chair, Health and Human Services and Director, Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Over the past several years there has been a rapidly shifting climate around sexual assault and harassment as a result of the #MeToo movement and growing awareness of sexual abuse in institutional contexts. The University of Michigan and its employees have not been insulated from accusations. In the midst of several high-profile allegations, the University instituted a mandatory university-wide online education program in the summer of 2019, “Cultivating a Culture of Respect: Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Awareness.” The training, opening with a variety of university leaders, highlights culture creation and collective respect as necessary components of an inclusive, equitable institution.
This presentation provides preliminary findings from a survey the team administered in May 2020 to a random sample of staff and faculty across the UM campuses. We focus on two aspects of data in particular, the level of awareness of #MeToo movement among staff and faculty, and how the movement is viewed by respondents as shaping their own attitudes and behaviors. Our data show that employees believe they can identify problematic behaviors and know where to report them, and demonstrate a high level of confidence in university procedures. However, these responses are in juxtaposition to a university culture facing significant challenges. Who is responsible for changing institutional culture? How does cultural change happen in an institution where individuals already believe they are performing appropriately and equitably?
This event is presented by the Initiative on Gender Based Violence and Sexual Harassment at IRWG.