The town hall meeting to discuss sexual harassment has been rescheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27 in the Preston Family Room due to campus closing yesterday because of the weather.
Kansas Leadership Center Faculty-in-Residence Gary Wyatt, associate provost and dean of the Honors College, Amy Sage Webb, professor of English, modern language and journalism, and Mallory Koci, clinical instructor in the Honors College and interdisciplinary studies, planned the meeting.
The town hall was prompted by The Bulletin’s previous stories about “Jane,” the student who reported a professor for sexual misconduct, and the #metoo movement, according to Wyatt.
“Recent events have revealed that not only is sexual harassment an issue for society as a whole, but it is a concern that we need to address on this campus as well,” according to the email sent from Wyatt, Webb and Koci to the Emporia community about the town hall.
In an email sent to the student body, ASG President Megan McReynolds, junior sociology major, expressed her support for the town hall and encouraged students to wear black to support the movement.
“As we enter a time of unprecedented opportunity to support student success, it is time to rally against the inequalities before us,” McReynolds wrote. “In the face of challenging perceptions and important conversations, we stand in solidarity with the ‘Time’s Up’ movement and once again encourage all Emporia State University students to wear black next Tuesday, Feb. 27 to join us.”
Henry Weiner, president of the Honors College and math education major, also urged Honors College members to attend the town hall in an email sent to Honors College members. Originally, the Honors College intended to address sexual harassment during their monthly meeting, but cancelled due to the campus closure yesterday.
In his email, Weiner referred to the “sexual harassment issue rocking the campus.”
He asked that students focus not on the issue, but on adaptive change and finding a way to change the climate.
“We ask that your focus not be upon the issue itself, but what we can do to change the climate that, while it does not endorse or condone that behavior, does not prevent it either,” Weiner wrote. “This is a deep, complex, adaptive challenge, one that does not have an answer in the past or in the event itself.”
Weiner asked Honors College members to focus on searching for solutions that use the adaptive leadership model and to work for the common good of the university.
“Instead, we ask that, as representatives of the Honors College, you work for the common good of the university, working to find adaptive solutions so that everyone feels welcome and safe here at ESU,” Weiner wrote.
The event is to help share student’s perspectives on the issue and determine what steps should be taken to create an environment that does not tolerate sexual harassment, according to the email.
They intend to use the town hall to determine what changes need to be made and who can make them, using the adaptive leadership model, Webb and Wyatt said.
Administration is neither invitied nor disinvited, Webb said.
“While we are pleased that the administration is supportive of this effort, this is not their event,” the Wyatt, Webb and Koci email said. “It is an event that we the members of the Kansas Leadership Center Faculty-in-Residence have taken the initiative to organize.”
According to McReynolds, the town hall requires an engagement with and understanding of the issues that students are facing.
“We need your vision and input to make a positive impact on our systems in place to ensure all students are safe here at Emporia State University,” McReynolds wrote.