AP NEWS

UW System may tighten hiring to check for sexual harassment

May 31, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin System will consider tightening its hiring process and reference checks to remove potential employees with a history of sexual harassment.

The proposed policy change would require all system campuses to share personnel files with each other or state agencies as part of a hiring review, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported .

Campuses would also have to maintain documentation of allegations or investigations of sexual harassment in personnel files. Those documents would need to include the final resolution to the allegations, including if an employee was found not responsible, resigned, was disciplined or was fired.

Ray Cross, the system’s president, said the UW System won’t tolerate sexual harassment.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to assess our policies and revise them as necessary to ensure that our campus communities are safe and welcoming places to live, learn and work,” he said.

The proposed change was prompted after investigations by the Stevens Point Journal and the Milwaukee Journal. The two newspapers discovered that some employees who’d left their positions following sexual harassment allegations were able to get jobs at other campuses because reference checks didn’t include harassment history.

Gov. Scott Walker requested the system review its policies following the reports.

The system’s Board of Regents will consider the policy June 7.

The university system previously adopted a policy on sexual assault and harassment in 2016 that aimed to formalize its commitment to address the issue. The policy required campuses to have a clear system to report allegations. It also required employees to be trained to prevent and identify sexual harassment.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com