The umbrella scientific organization for the U.S. will hold a summit in November to discuss plans to change the culture of higher ed that has tolerated sexual misconduct for decades. Action plans submitted by many universities show that Ombuds will be a critical part of these efforts. perhaps because of this initiative, some institutions are considering Ombuds for the first time. In addition, IOA will have representatives to explain and advocate for the Ombuds role.
When the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released its report in July 2018 calling for an end to sexual harassment and discrimination in academia, Ombuds were highlighted as an essential resource. NASEM recommended that colleges and universities have an Ombuds to counsel those who have been harassed, separate from Title IX offices. NASEM created an Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education to continue the work on these issues. IOA joined dozens of colleges, universities, and research centers that endorsed the Action Collaborative's efforts.
The Action Collaborative will hold a public summit at the University of Washington on November 19-20, 2019. IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard and Board Member Jessica Kuchta-Miller will present a poster: "Is it Time for an Ombuds?" In addition, Community Engagement Plans submitted by Action Collaborative signatories show that institutions see Ombuds program as integral to their efforts (Berkeley; Michigan State; UC Santa Barbara; UMass Amherst; USC; Washington University in St. Louis). Moreover, Community Engagement Plans from Cold Spring Harbor Lab and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reveal that those research institutes are actively considering new Ombuds programs. The summit is open and free to attend and will also be webcast. (NASEM Action Collaborative Summit Info; Registration Info.)
Related posts: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Endorses Ombuds for Higher Ed's Sexual Harassment Problem; Title IX Researchers Seek Input from Higher Ed Ombuds; IOA Posts First Press Release; IOA Signs on to National Academies' Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct.