We are writing to share the latest information about Retriever Courage, UMBC’s initiative to strengthen campus prevention and response efforts related to incidents of sex discrimination and sexual violence/misconduct.
Retriever Courage committees have formed and are beginning their work, with representation from students, faculty, and staff across the university community. These partners will work together to provide a voice for and share feedback from constituents. The Faculty/Staff Advisory Committee and Student Advisory Committee will take recommendations to the University Steering Committee (USC). The USC will work with the Implementation Team to finalize recommendations for submission to vice presidents and deans, who will review and submit them to the president for final approval. If you would like to join the Faculty/Staff Advisory Committee or Student Advisory Committee, please visit the Partners page on the Retriever Courage website.
During the fall semester, we’ve addressed some immediate needs that reflect the initial feedback we received from the UMBC community. Improvements to campus lighting are ongoing. A new UMBC ID with emergency contact information was designed and we anticipate the new card will be ready in the spring. We’ve also started rolling out mandatory in-person and online Title IX/sexual misconduct response and prevention training for administrators, faculty, and staff, and will begin developing and implementing mandatory training for our students through a collaborative process with the Student Advisory Committee and our external consultant/firm. Our procurement process teams — made up of students, faculty, and staff — are now conducting interviews for an external consultant/firm to review current university processes, policies, procedures, and practices regarding prevention and response, and we expect to announce the selection after we return from winter break.
Lasting change requires both short- and long-term work. This is just the beginning. In the coming months, we will be reviewing all aspects of UMBC’s sexual misconduct prevention and response policies and practices, and training and awareness programs, to help determine what is working well and where we can learn from other institutions’ best practices and from evidence-based research. We will cover all processes in response to sexual misconduct; models for training students, faculty, and staff; and best practices for providing support to students.
This work will be challenging, and it calls for each one of us to be involved, to listen to and learn from one another, so that UMBC will become a stronger community and Retriever Courage can have a lasting impact on campus and beyond. There are many different ways to be involved, such as joining an advisory committee, participating in educational workshops and training, becoming an advocate for survivors, and committing to being an observant, vocal bystander. We ask that you continue sharing your feedback as well. An anonymous input form is also available.
We encourage those who have observed or experienced sexual violence/misconduct to seek support as needed at any time. There are many resources available on campus and in the community that offer confidential medical support, confidential psychological/emotional support, and interim protective measures (e.g., no-contact orders, housing adjustments, academic concerns). For emergency situations, contact campus police via 410-455-5555 or local police via 911.
Thank you for helping us make UMBC a safer, more caring living, learning, and working environment for all. We wish you an enjoyable and restful winter break.
President Freeman Hrabowski
Provost Philip Rous
Adam Harvey, University Steering Committee Chair