In 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a report showing that rates of sexual harassment and assault are pervasive throughout academia – second, in fact, only to the U.S. military. In equity surveys we conducted during the 2018-2019 academic year among postdocs and academic student employees (ASEs), we found similarly high rates, with 60% of women, 40% of men, and 80% of non-binary people reporting experiences with harassment while at UW. Check out the full analysis of these surveys at the links below:

Empowering Prevention & Inclusive Communities

Our Local has a strong history of taking action to address these serious issues. In 2019, hundreds of Postdocs and allies turned out to a powerful work session on sexual harassment held by Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, and subsequently won some of the strongest anti-harassment protections in the country. And in 2018, we fought for and won one of the most innovative prevention programs in the country — the Empowering Prevention and Inclusive Communities (EPIC) training program.

  • EPIC is a peer-to-peer training jointly run between our union and the university and is enshrined in both the ASE contract and postdoc contract.
  • We run an innovative evidence-informed curriculum that empowers participants with concrete skills for creating safer workplaces, interrupting harassment, and getting support.
  • In Fall 2019 alone, EPIC has reached 800 ASEs and postdocs in departments and units across all three campuses of University of Washington.
  • After going through the training, 97% of participants consistently report that they are likely or very likely to take action to address harassment if it occurs in their workplace.
  • Read more key takeaways from the program’s inaugural year at our 2018-19 academic year report. Also check out the poster EPIC presented at the 2019 NASEM Summit on Prevention of Sexual Harassment held at UW.
  • For more information or to schedule a training in your department or unit, email

Ongoing working group projects

  • 2019 NASEM Summit on Prevention of Sexual Harassment: UAW 4121 members were featured in a number of presentations and discussions. Check out our poster, #WeToo: Taking on Sexual Harassment Through Collective Action on the critical role of unionization for addressing the structural roots of sexual harassment in academia.
  • 2019-2020 Equity Survey: We are analyzing the results from the 19-20 equity survey.
  • Local code of conduct: We are developing a framework for a Local code of conduct to help guide prevention and response to issues of inequity, discrimination, and harassment in internal union work. This work draws from many sources, including restorative justice, transformative justice, and trauma-informed work.

Get involved

To learn more or get involved with the Anti-Discrimination Working Group, please email anti-discrimination@uaw4121.