DON, SUNY Lead Virtual Discussion on Building Healthy Institutions

US Navy

The Department of the Navy and the State University of New York (SUNY) hosted a virtual discussion on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment with America’s Colleges, Universities and Service Academies July 14-15. The critical conversations are occurring as the military assesses its culture and all major institutions explore how best to measure and positively impact organizational climate.

The online event, featured remarks from Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker, Acting Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Catherine Kessmeier, and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, as well as leadership, ethics, and violence prevention experts sharing best practices for developing effective prevention and response efforts. Leveraging the relationship with academia strengthens efforts underway by the Department of the Navy to eliminate sexual assault and sexual harassment from our ranks.

“We have a responsibility to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault, and set the conditions for future leaders to thrive by building healthy institutions,” said Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker. “Participating in this discussion enables the Department of the Navy to exchange current data-driven solutions to face these challenges head on. We have never stepped down from a challenge.”

Sponsored by the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs’ Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment and Suicide Prevention and Response Office and SUNY, the discussions include panelists and researchers from Georgetown University, Temple University, Wake Forest University, the University of Connecticut, the Office of People Analytics and the Naval War College. Experts will discuss the role of leadership in changing culture and how to assess programmatic impact and progress.

Participants will have the opportunity to join interactive discussions, build partnerships, and learn foundational knowledge and skills to create safe environments where all community members can thrive. Sessions will focus on the role of healthy climates in reducing negative behaviors and enhancing performance. Thought leaders will share how modeling behavior can shape the culture and climate positively and drive accountability.

“It’s on us to set a precedent that sexual harassment and sexual assault are unacceptable, and in doing so drive meaningful and long lasting change,” said Malatras. “By leveraging our common violence prevention goals, academia and the military can increase awareness, innovation and develop effective prevention and response efforts to ensure our students are protected and end the culture of harassment and assault once and for all.”

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