Op-Ed: An open letter regarding Wilcox’s silence

Writer: Carisha Maria Moore, ASUCR executive vice president and undergraduate representative of the UC-wide Title IX Advisory Board

Major: Third-year, cellular, molecular and developmental biology

Email: asucrevp@ucr.edu

Recently, our very own Chancellor Kim Wilcox was alleged to have ignored claims of sexual misconduct made against William Strampel, former dean of osteopathic medicine at Michigan State University, where Wilcox served as provost prior to arriving at UCR. Even more recently, it was reported that our former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Jim Sandoval took a paid administrative leave in light of sexual harassment allegations before being able to retire two months later.

In the midst of this, Wilcox has been disturbingly quiet. I fully condemn Chancellor Wilcox and his lack of transparency in addressing the issues regarding these cases. In his statements he has contradicted himself by claiming that “none of the feedback (he) received” indicated that Strampel was problematic but also stating that he did receive “some anonymous feedback that Strampel had made several inappropriate comments.” Doesn’t that mean he knew something? If so, what exactly does it take for Wilcox to take justifiable action?

With sexual misconduct being an extremely prevalent issue at the university level, Wilcox’s complacency at Michigan State is more than concerning, as it suggests these issues are overlooked by current UCR administration. I hope our campus is more responsible in handling such claims and accusations.

As the executive vice president of ASUCR, undergraduate representative of the UC-wide Title IX Advisory Board and a woman on this campus, I know I share the same concerns as several other students. Sexual violence is now being talked about more with the help of movements such as #MeToo and the #TimesUp and It’s On Us campaigns. Even with these movements calling for greater transparency nationwide, Wilcox has been absent in providing assurance of safety at UCR. As the chancellor, he should be aware of student concerns and addressing them more proactively.  It’s pertinent that our administration and chancellor are kept accountable in not only educating the campus, but educating themselves and faculty on the importance of sexual violence awareness.

I hope these recent circumstances lead to a more transparent and responsible administration when it comes to approaching issues related to sexual violence and misconduct. I recognize UCR has zero tolerance for sexual violence, but I think it is time they start representing this standard.

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