USC is dedicated to reducing and preventing sexual and gender-based harassment and to encouraging an inclusive and respectful culture and climate at the University for everyone. Through the USC NASEM Action Collaborative on Sexual Harassment working group, which began through efforts by the Joint Provost/Academic Senate Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Gender Violence, the University is addressing these issues with an array of tactics geared toward preventing sexual misconduct and providing support resources to those who experience such conduct despite our collective best efforts.
As part of those efforts, USC is playing a leadership role on the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Action Collaborative that was established in 2018 following a NASEM report that recommended widespread efforts that go beyond legal compliance to ensure culture changes that will reduce sexual and gender-based harassment in higher education. The Action Collaborative consists of representatives from colleges, universities, and other research and training programs.
Within USC itself, there have been two significant efforts to address gender-based harassment and equity stemming from the University’s involvement in NASEM. As previously noted, the University established a working group that consists of faculty, staff, and students that meets regularly to manage the University’s NASEM participation, with a focus on developing training, programs, infrastructure, and other resources to address these important issues and to raise awareness of these resources in the USC community. The group is charged with developing recommendations for cultivating a culture and environment at USC in which sexual and gender-based harassment is not tolerated, where reporting of harassment is encouraged and expected, and where reports and instances of harassment are handled appropriately and with care and compassion.
The working group is currently co-chaired by Dr. Maria Guadalupe Maldonado, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Director of the Center for Gender Equity in Medicine and Science, and Catherine Spear, Vice President for USC’s Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX).
The University also founded GEMS, the Center for Gender Equity in Medicine & Science at Keck School of Medicine, in 2019 with four primary goals:
- Advance gender equality across the career pipeline
- Advocate for equal pay, as provided by law
- Facilitate career development with the goal of achieving equitable representation in leadership for all, regardless of gender, and
- Create a culture intolerant of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
The philosophy of GEMS is that compliance is not enough, as it strives to promote processes and practices to achieve gender equity in recruitment, faculty development, and across the career pipeline.