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Campus Conversation: #AUCSpeakUp in Action

Reem Abouemera
October 18, 2020

Last Thursday’s Campus Conversation #AUCSpeakUp in Action provided updates about the #AUCSpeakUp initiative, including outcomes of the recently completed misconduct investigation the University’s continuing COVID-19 planning. 

Part One: #AUCSpeakUp in Action

AUC Initiatives to Prevent and Combat Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

  • Regarding the misconduct investigation, AUC’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy, provided the foundation for the outcomes of the investigation.
  • AUC is currently working on a sanctions matrix for sexual harassment complaints.
  • The mandatory online anti-harassment training program will start at the end of October for faculty, staff and students, who must pass all modules.
  • A series of on-campus trainings are coming soon in Arabic for AUC’s non-English speaking community.
  • An Office of Institutional Equity website is underway to centralize all information and address frequently asked questions.
  • To guarantee a response and investigation, make sure to report through the official reporting channels.
  • AUC will launch an #AUCSpeakUp Dialogue series in mid-November, and an advisory board will be formed.

“Victims are afraid in this world, in this society, to come forward because everyone recognizes it as a natural ‘blame the victim’ tendency. We want to make sure that at AUC, there is no such tendency; there’s no institutional tolerance of sexual harassment.” –– President Francis Ricciardone

Part Two: COVID-19 Planning

Navigating COVID-19 and Physical Campus Presence

  • AUC has put into place systems for tracking, testing, and tracing of COVID-19 cases. As tracking gets better, AUC will incrementally move toward the ultimate goal of full, physically present, on-campus operations.
  • The decision for the winter session and Spring 2021 semester will be announced soon, considering that class offerings have to be announced by November 7 and advising starts on November 15, but there will be a winter session.
  • The choice of assessment methods is left to faculty. If a faculty member finds online examinations ineffective, students are sometimes allowed to take physical exams if it’s in the best interest of the students, University and educational process at large.
  • All library services and resources are available online. If not, in limited cases, students are allowed to access the library.
  • The Class of 2020 Commencement is postponed to 2021. The timing hasn’t been set and depends on the spread of the pandemic and the safety guidelines AUC needs to follow, but AUC commits to a commencement for the very special Class of 2020.
  • If a second COVID-19 wave hits and AUC observes a surge, the University will roll back into full online mode.
  • A flu vaccine will be available at the AUC Clinic starting in the upcoming weeks for all community members.
  • The contact tracing technology simply improves the decision-making process to eventually be able to go back to campus. Privacy is paramount.