Our TU Commitment speaks of life as a story that we are constantly writing – one that is shaped by the opportunities and experiences we meet along the way.
Current events remind us that the stories of far too many relatives, friends and classmates include instances of sexual assault and harassment. In recent days, more than 40 women have come forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of such abuse. Their bravery has inspired a wave of #MeToo posts on social media, as survivors of sexual violence share their stories. The movement has sparked important conversations with my wife, children, siblings, co-workers and friends.
As this dialog unfolds, let’s recognize that each of us is blind to important facets in the life stories of others. When it comes to sexual harassment and assault, I hope we can pause, put our opinions on hold and simply listen to the accounts of those willing to share their experiences. Their stories have a lot to tell us about how pervasive assault and harassment have become. We should use these accounts as the starting point of a new conversation about assumptions, attitudes, behavior, denial and responsibility – here on campus and beyond. As we have increased our efforts around the reporting of sexual assault at TU, there has been an overwhelmingly positive response on campus and across Tulsa. Yet, there also has been some pushback; some say this is really not a problem. In particular, I hope those with this latter opinion pause and listen to others’ stories as they come forward.
As we write this chapter of our lives together – guided by our TU Commitment to acceptance, engagement, empowerment and self-discovery – remember to take care of yourself, take care of each other (which includes listening), and when you see something going wrong, step in and make the difference.
Gerard P. Clancy, M.D.