Guidance on How to Handle Hateful Email
Sent on behalf of Interim Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity Jennifer Ng and Director of Institutional Opportunity & Access Joshua Jones.
Dear Campus Colleagues,
In recent weeks, several KU employees have reported receiving anti-Semitic, hateful emails. We recognize the harmful impact such messages can have, especially on marginalized individuals and communities. Whether we are subject to harassment and discrimination ourselves or witness other people’s experiences, it is important that we know how to respond with care and call upon existing campus resources as appropriate. We hope the following information will be a helpful reference, and we invite you to contact our offices if we can be of further assistance.
Reporting to KU IT
Any time you receive a suspicious email, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org as an Outlook item attachment so IT staff can pull headers and other metadata from the message. While it may not be possible to prevent such messages, IT staff can block future correspondence from specific accounts.
Mandatory reporting to the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA)
With only a few exceptions, all KU employees are “mandatory reporters.” Mandatory reporters are required to report incidents of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual violence, to the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access at 785-864-6414, email@example.com, or an online reporting form at ioa.ku.edu. If a student, faculty member, or staff member reports concerns about discrimination or sexual harassment, you should make clear your mandatory reporter status and report the discussion to IOA.
The IOA can offer assistance and protective measures to students, faculty, and staff targeted by harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and retaliation. The office provides information about health, safety, advocacy, and support resources for members of the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. As necessary, it also performs formal investigations to detect, discontinue, and prevent violations of the Non-Discrimination Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy and ensures University compliance with state and federal civil rights laws.
Regardless of whether an IOA complaint or criminal complaint has been filed, the IOA is able to offer or impose a variety of support measures to assist people and keep them from harm. Examples of support and protective measures include, but are not limited to, contact restrictions placed on relevant parties, academic accommodations, alternative housing placements, alternative work schedules/locations, course schedule changes, legal assistance referrals, student financial aid assistance, health and mental health support, visa and immigration assistance, and course withdrawal/load reductions.
Campus resources beyond IOA
While not an exhaustive list, the following resources may also be helpful:
- KU Public Safety | emergency: 911, non-emergency: 785-864-5900
- Police officers in the KU Office of Public Safety are fully commissioned law enforcement officials certified by the State of Kansas and are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- University Ombuds Office | 785-864-7261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- University Ombuds Office is a safe place where members of the campus community can seek informal, independent, confidential and impartial assistance in addressing conflicts, disputes, or complaints without fear of retaliation or judgment. The purpose of the Ombuds Office is to act as “an ear to the people,” and the Ombuds is exempt from mandatory reporting.
- Office of Diversity & Equity | 785-864-4904 or email@example.com
- In cases of non-emergencies, the Office of Diversity & Equity can help people identify what resources exist and what options might be relevant to address harassment or discrimination concerns. The Office of Diversity & Equity can also assist in the coordination of multiple university resources that might be involved after an incident.
The following resources for students may also be helpful:
- Student Affairs Assists | studentaffairs.ku.edu/student-affairs-assists
- Student Care Referral Team (SCRT) is an interdisciplinary, administrative team that identifies students through referrals who may be experiencing difficulty coping with their environment and/or life circumstance, assesses those referrals for needs and risk, and develops intervention and outreach plans in collaboration with Student Support and Case Management.
- CARE Coordinator | 785-864-9255 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The CARE (Campus Assistance, Resource, and Education) Coordinator’s primary role is to provide institutional support for students who have been impacted by any form of violence. Services are free and confidential, and the CARE Coordinator is also exempt from mandatory reporting to University officials or organizations. The CARE Coordinator offers individualized therapeutic support, education and assistance navigating campus and community resources; support during the reporting process (both KU and criminal), and assistance with academic or housing needs.
- Counseling and Psychological Services | 785-864-2277
- CAPS Personal Counseling Services can help students with issues related to adjusting to college and other psychological, interpersonal, and family problems. Individual and group sessions are available. CAPS staff are also available for consultation with students, staff, and faculty who may have concerns about another student or friend, or about a particular situation.
How to respond if someone shares a concern or incident with you
What constitutes harassment or discrimination is not always clear, so how we respond to others who share their experiences or concerns with us is important. The following tips are useful to consider:
- Listen carefully and avoid interrupting if possible.
- Avoid statements that suggest judgement, and refrain from minimizing the experience.
- Explain your obligations as a mandated reporter.
- Do not make assumptions about how a person wants a situation to be resolved. Ask what they would like to happen next and comply when possible.
- Do not make promises about possible outcomes or resolutions if they are not in your control.
- Offer to accompany the person to appointments with other offices if helpful.
- Ask about the person’s support system. If you are concerned with someone’s apparent lack of support, consider KU resources including CAPS and Student Affairs Assists.
- Check in regularly to ensure appropriate measures have taken place.
- Apart from mandatory reporting obligations, respect the person’s privacy and refrain from sharing information with others unless absolutely necessary.
Jennifer and Josh
Interim Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity
Director of Institutional Opportunity & Access