In January, President Dunn announced a new interim sexual misconduct policy and asked for feedback from faculty and staff.
After reviewing the interim policy, linked here, members of the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee have identified a number of concerns about it, including about possible implications for due process and academic freedom. For example, faculty in courses and disciplines that use images that could be perceived as controversial may want to know how “pedagogically appropriate” material, as it is referenced in the interim policy, will be defined and by whom.
Additionally, reporting requirements for faculty who become aware of incidents have raised concerns. The interim policy compels faculty to report information, apparently to include information shared with us in confidence by students who may not wish to report an incident officially but may want only to talk with us or to ask us for other kinds of help.
We have identified these and other concerns, but we are not going to be able to catch everything that could have unintended consequences. Therefore, we strongly encourage all faculty members to read the interim policy in its entirety and to submit feedback (anonymously) through an online survey, linked here, set up by the administration.
In President Dunn’s email to the faculty and staff in January, he wrote that the new sexual misconduct policy will be finalized by the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. Therefore, we ask that faculty who wish to weigh in on this important issue submit their feedback as soon as possible.