Two years ago, our campus community came together and demanded to be heard. Faculty, staff, and students sat down with President Hrabowski and campus leadership to voice urgent concerns over how UMBC prevents and responds to reports of sexual misconduct. That group of activists became known as the “Sunday Group.” Through protests, conversations, and listening sessions, the Retriever Courage initiative was created to address our community’s experiences and to make UMBC a safer, more caring, living, learning, and working environment for all.
Change requires the courage to speak out, listen, learn, and take action. Our community showed tremendous courage two years ago when we began the mission of Retriever Courage and it has continued to show courage as campus-wide changes were made. Thanks to our community’s continued commitment to this work, we have been able to complete many of the recommendations made for our campus, including making an online Title IX reporting form that permits anonymous reporting, a new campus card with resources listed on the back, creating and staffing the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and establishing the Inclusion Council.
We have been able to accomplish a great deal in the last two years, but there is more to do and we are committed to doing it in collaboration with the ongoing anti-racism work happening in our country, and on our campus, right now. The Inclusion Council, which was formed to advise the Office of Equity and Inclusion and whose members serve as ambassadors for the office across campus, has launched working groups, one of which is focused on sexual misconduct and harassment to help with this work. There are also other campus partners working with the Office of Equity and Inclusion in an advisory capacity. This work remains important to our campus community.
While COVID-19 has disrupted our world and changed how our community comes together, it has not changed our commitment to the values of Retriever Courage. Our community faces new challenges now and we must adapt to address the barriers created by an online world. We are still listening and we are still working.
Nadia BenAissa ‘20
Member, UMBC Inclusion Council
Co-Founder, We Believe You