Dear CALS Community,
The Wisconsin State Journal recently brought us the tragic story of a graduate student’s suicide and its link to a toxic environment within the lab of an engineering professor. We found it disturbing and saddening, but also cautionary. For the last few years, the campus and college have sought to make students, staff, and faculty more aware and to hold people accountable when bad behavior occurs. The university has also invested in new informational and counseling resources to help individuals struggling with high-stress, depression, or suicidal thoughts. However, policies aimed at helping people and creating more inclusive and supportive climates depend on our willingness to say something.
The university has policies and procedures that allow community members to intervene, ensure safety, and, when necessary, hold people accountable. Additional information and tools can be found on the wisc.edu website. Specifically,
Hostile and intimidating behavior
- Information for students: https://doso.students.wisc.edu
- How students can report: https://doso.students.wisc.edu/bias-or-hate-reporting/ (Note: hostile and intimidating behavior is included in bias and hate reporting.)
- Information for faculty and staff: https://hr.wisc.edu/hib/campus-resources/
- How faculty and staff can report: https://hr.wisc.edu/hib/addressing-hib/reporting-options/
Sexual harassment and assault (Title IX)
- Information: https://compliance.wisc.edu/titleix/
- How anyone can report: https://compliance.wisc.edu/titleix/reporting-response-options/
Mental health resources
- Information for students (University Health Services): https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/mental-health/
- Information for faculty and staff (Employee Assistance Office): https://hr.wisc.edu/employee-assistance-office/
Within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), you are welcome to contact your advisor, department chair, department human resources staff, student services coordinator, or contact one of us directly.
Ultimately, any resolution requires someone to speak up. This isn’t always easy, particularly when individuals feel isolated, alone, or powerless. However, it is essential to make things better and help those in need. Whether you are student, staff, or faculty, we want you to be successful in your time with CALS: hostile and intimidating behavior, sexual harassment and assault, and bias and hate have no place in our college.
Dean Kate VandenBosch and Associate Deans William Barker, Carol Hillmer, Doug Reinemann, Mark Rickenbach, Angela Seitler, Karen Wassarman, and Heidi Zoerb