Today we continued discussing issues concerning our anti-discrimination proposals to jointly develop sexual harassment and anti-discrimination trainings specifically geared for ASEs’ needs and positionality. Our proposal includes creating such trainings jointly with the critical involvment of ASEs who are paid to do that work as 50% FTE appointments, implementing equity committees in each department that have measures for accountability and sustainability, and improved rights and recourse for those who experience issues of discrimination and harassment.

Since the start of bargaining, the university has not yet agreed to all of our demands concerning mandatory sexual harassment trainings. Today we made progress on this goal, as the university has acknowledged the benefit of having these trainings and we began discussions on how to develop a meaningful and robust training program that could be implemented for all incoming ASEs. They have also indicated willingness to hire ASEs to jointly develop and implement the program.

However, UW’s counter still falls short of our needs in a few important ways: First, the paid positions they have proposed are only hourly, and the University expressed today that they envisioned these positions being work 50% FTE appointees would do in addition to their other work. Their proposal also has limited application and does not account for the departmentally-responsive, accessible, and ongoing work that is critical to addressing these issues in a consequential and dedicated way.

Our position is that the UW has the money to fund these trainings, but must invest it in creating meaningful sustainable programs that work. We believe that these trainings will be effectively administered only if ASEs have fully funded positions to do so, and we will continue this fight.

Today’s bargaining session indicates that we have a promising opening to create a program that substantially addresses sexual harassment and discrimination at the University. However, that potential won’t be actualized without clear demonstration from a supermajority of ASEs across campus that these issues are critical to us, and that we are united in our dedication to demanding that Admin make a meaningful investment in working towards cultural change at the UW.