AUSTIN, Texas — During the past few months, the University of Texas at Austin community has opened up discussions about the handling of sexual misconduct violations against university staff and faculty.
In continuation of these discussions, the UT Faculty Council, which is a group comprised of 70 members, announced it will create community standards guidelines for professors, according to our partners at the Austin-American Statesman.
Brian Evans, a professor of engineering and chair of the faculty council, told the Statesman the guidelines are meant to help faculty and the university community understand what interactions between everyone, including students and staff, should look like at the university.
On Jan. 27, the council unanimously voted to create a task force that will come up with these guidelines.
Nine sub-committees consisting of three to four members each will address topics such as ethical principals and integrity, professional boundaries and diversity, equity and inclusion, according to the Statesman.
“There’s a lot of room for making everything better ... I really want us to see a shift in the university culture that’s positive and constructive,” Evans told the Statesman.
At the beginning of the year, the university released the names of 17 faculty and staff members at the university who violated sexual misconduct policies.
KVUE found that several of those employees kept their jobs.
University administrators held a forum for students in late January to hear their concerns. Many students worried that university officials were not responding appropriately to the situation.
"Why are faculty who are found in violation of sexual misconduct policies still allowed to teach at this university," one student asked at the forum.
Fenves also announced Husch-Blackwell, the outside firm reviewing UT’s sexual misconduct policies, will provide their recommendations by Feb. 28.
Meanwhile, the faculty council task force will meet three times during the next month to discuss their progress, according to the Statesman. They plan to have their results by December.
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