Theodosia Cook to lead anti-sexual harassment initiative – The Dartmouth

by Lorraine Liu | 4/5/19 2:15am

Last week, former director of institutional diversity and equity Theodosia Cook was named director of the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative, a movement that aims to create a campus environment free of sexual harassment. Announced by College President Phil Hanlon in January, C3I runs alongside Moving Dartmouth Forward and Inclusive Excellence — two initiatives rolled out in 2015 and 2016, respectively — as a third pillar to increase the inclusiveness of Dartmouth’s campus climate. 

Cook said that her experience at IDE provided her with knowledge of campus issues that will help her better realize the goals of C3I. In her previous role, Cook’s responsibilities included supporting faculty hiring and evaluating Dartmouth’s faculty hiring processes.

“Being able to go through that in IDE and become very aware of what’s happening on our campus allowed me to take initiative in C3I,” Cook said.

IDE vice president Evelynn Ellis said she expects collaboration between her office and the C3I. She emphasized that her job at the IDE, which is to foster inclusivity and equity on campus, is inseparable from Cook’s current responsibility to improve the Dartmouth campus climate. 

In the three months since C3I’s launch, the Initiative has focused on three projects to implement its goals: the drafting of the unified sexual misconduct policy and procedures, departmental reviews and mandatory Title IX training for faculty and staff. Last week, the latest draft of the unified sexual misconduct policy and procedures was published on C3I’s website, where students, faculty and staff can provide feedback until April 9. Once the feedback has been collected, various departments will vote to approve the new policies and procedures later this month and into May. The departmental climate reviews — led by University of Michigan psychology and women’s studies professor Abigail Stewart and Dartmouth engineering professor Vicki May — are set to begin this week.

Senior associate dean of student affairs Liz Agosto said that the student affairs office helps to create drafts for the unified sexual misconduct policy and procedures by communicating with undergraduate students and collecting feedback from them. She added that she looks forward to collaborating with Cook on more of C3I’s projects.

“Student Affairs has been involved in working on the editing and drafting of the sexual misconduct unified policy,” Agosto said. “And moving forward, we need to work with Ms. Cook on the initiative so as to implement [the policy] and continue training and other programming.”

Title IX coordinator Kristi Clemens said that under the C3I, the Title IX office will add a new staff member. The Title IX office has also worked together with C3I to implement online mandatory Title IX training for faculty and staff.

According to Clemens, her work will overlap with Cook’s in that they will both seek to improve the campus climate and “hold [the] whole community to a higher standard.” 

“Our office’s responsibility is to report misconduct,” Clemens said. “C3I is going to do some cultural analysis of departments, environments and groups of students that are saying that they don’t feel great about the environment and try to address it from a broader cultural perspective rather than waiting for somebody to come forward with the report.”

Clemens noted that C3I might be more effective at implementing projects that address campus climate issues because it has a higher priority in the organizational structure of the College’s administration. 

“C3I is really a senior leadership position that reports directly to the President,” she said. “It might have a little bit more power than my little office does in moving some of those powerful initiatives forward to change the campus climate.”

Cook said she hopes to use her new leadership position to further advance the mission of the C3I. She noted that she plans to “glean a lot” from a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report titled, “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine” to understand the climate of higher institution. 

According to Cook, further specific projects for the C3I have not been created. She added that in creating future projects for C3I, the initiative will include input from Dartmouth community members. 

“There will definitely be other projects for the C3I initiative,” Cook said. “But again, we have just begun, so we’re hoping to release them and be clear and solicit thoughts and ideas from our students, staff and faculty. Once [the projects] come out, they will be notified. They will be a part of thinking about how to craft the program that we’re going to create … under C3I.”

According to Ellis, the hiring for Cook’s replacement at IDE is currently ongoing. 

“I’m working with the provost now to start the process,” Ellis said. “We have to do a lot of things to prepare for the search for the right person for the position.”

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