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Bentley Library Quad

New Resources to Support Equity and Inclusion

Sept. 21, 2022

Dear Bentley Community,

I hope that the start of the new academic year on campus is going well thus far. Fall on a college campus provides a great opportunity to embrace new beginnings and remind ourselves of the community that we aspire to create. At Bentley, every member of our community deserves to learn, live and work in an environment where they can thrive. Support, prevention and accountability are critical components of a campus structure and culture that celebrates community members of all identities and ensures their ability to achieve their full potential.

As I shared last semester Bentley is committed to providing the resources to support individuals who have been impacted by discrimination, gender-based violence or harassment and bias. I am glad today to introduce two new members of our community who will support these important efforts.

Jessica Teperow has joined Bentley as the program director of Sexual Assault Resources and Advocacy under the associate dean of Health, Counseling and Wellbeing where she will serve as a resource for students who have experienced sexual violence, harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct. In this role, she will work with students, faculty and staff to bolster our response to gender-based violence by developing and strengthening key support structures. Jessica brings to our community more than 20 years of experience developing sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and education measures.

Most recently, she served as the director of prevention programs at REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, a Waltham-based nonprofit committed to ending domestic violence and building healthy relationships and communities. Jessica is no stranger to our campus, having served as a resource to Bentley students over the last year, including facilitating listening sessions with students and leading trauma-informed training for faculty and staff.

Kelly Downes will join us later this month as the director of the new Office of Institutional Equity, where she will oversee Bentley’s compliance with federal and state discrimination and harassment laws, including Title IX. As head of this new office, Kelly will expand our ability to coordinate resources, prevention and response procedures to strengthen our commitment to institutional accountability by providing an easily accessible and effective mechanism for responding to incidents as they occur.

Kelly will be joining our community from the Berklee College of Music, where she served as the chief equity officer and Title IX coordinator. Kelly has an impressive background in litigation and investigations involving bias and discrimination as an experienced attorney practicing in higher education and state and local government agency environments.

These two important roles will allow us to expand the support and prevention services we offer while centralizing the university’s response mechanisms when acts of identity-based discrimination, harassment or bias do occur. The importance of these institutional structures cannot be overstated, and they are enormously important in a higher education context and in the workplace. I am excited about the progress we have made in bringing these new resources to campus and believe these structures will enable us to impact our culture in positive ways. Be on the lookout for updates from Jessica and Kelly as they familiarize themselves with our campus this semester, and until then, please continue to do your part to make Bentley a place where everyone can thrive.

President Chrite