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Looking in the Mirror

Two years ago, a lawsuit alleging UMBC mishandled several sexual assault complaints focused campus attention on our community’s culture and processes related to sexual assault prevention and response. Administrative and shared governance leaders, faculty, staff, and students joined together in the Retriever Courage initiative to better understand implementation of the UMBC Sexual Misconduct Policy and hold ourselves accountable to our value of inclusive excellence. This deep look in the mirror strengthened the campus in important ways, leading to the creation of our new Office of Equity and Inclusion, establishment of an Inclusion Council charged to support all members of the community affected by discrimination, and enhanced Title IX training required for all students, faculty, and staff.

Yesterday, we learned that the civil lawsuit filed against UMBC and individual defendants at the university has been dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Chasanow, who ruled that UMBC fulfilled its obligations under all aspects of the law.

In all matters of equity and inclusion, compliance with the law is essential but certainly not sufficient. We are proud of the thoughtful and transparent approach our campus community is continuing to take to more fully understand the issue of sexual assault prevention and response. We deeply appreciate the many shared governance leaders, students, and colleagues who devote their time and expertise not only to the Retriever Courage work, but also to other urgent equity issues, including anti-racism and support for the LGBTQ, religious, immigrant, and international communities.

We are stronger as a campus because of this work, and we know that each of us has an important role to play as the work continues. October is Relationship Violence Awareness Month, and we encourage you to view the Women’s Center’s programs and resources. To learn more about Equity and Inclusion initiatives at UMBC or to seek support for personal concerns, please visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion website.

President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

Posted: October 1, 2020, 3:16 PM