UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

Focusing on respect

President Armacost’s biweekly message covers Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Faculty Lecture, stress, pandemic and more

April 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time dedicated to promoting the awareness and prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. At the University of North Dakota, this month represents the ideal time to emphasize the important expectations among our campus leaders and the University community about the necessity of dignity and respect for all.

While this should go without saying, just imagine how much we could do to end sexual assault by observing and following the fundamental principle of mutual respect, recognizing the dignity of all humans, and taking time to care for one another. I also want to point out the services provided on campus, such as the University Counseling Center and the Community Violence Intervention Center (CIVIC) at UND, which offers advocacy and prevention services to students who are victims of sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and interpersonal violence.

On the same topic, I want to encourage everyone to attend next week’s Faculty Lecture by Liz Legerski on the “Sociology of Sexual Harassment and the Transformational Potential of Student Research.”  She is an associate professor of sociology in the College of Arts & Sciences and chairs the University Senate.

Using examples from her research, Liz will describe the usefulness of a sociological perspective for understanding the social forces that enable sexual harassment across a variety of contexts. She will also illustrate the importance of providing student research opportunities with the potential to transform student learning and lives.

I know we’ve all been under more than our usual share of stress the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If there was ever a good time to observe Stress Awareness Month during April, this is it. So, please, take care of yourself and look out for others as much as possible. It’s vital that we pay attention to mental health as we continue to cope with this pandemic. Take some time for stress relief, whether it’s a walk, a nap, mediation, or break from your usual routine. I applaud UND Student Government’s efforts to promote mental health awareness, as well as strategies to cope stress.

Speaking of the pandemic, although it appears to be in its waning days, I strongly encourage everyone to remain vigilant and continue to practice those measures that keep us all healthy and safe. And students, please get vaccinated. Student Health Services has vaccine appointments available for students over 18. They have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one dose. To make an appointment, please login to the UND Student Health Services portal or call 701-777-4500. There is no cost.

And just as a reminder, commencement is coming up next month, a traditional time to celebrate UND’s new class of graduates, as well as those earning professional and advanced degrees. Although the pandemic continues to put a damper on in-person commencement, I want to encourage our graduates to participate in the Grad Walk happening May 1. It’s UND’s way and my opportunity to honor and personally congratulate you on your accomplishments.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the impacts of nationwide violence directed toward our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. Over the next month, we’ll have a series of events aimed at combating this violence and raising awareness. It’s important to empathize with our fellow citizens and gain an understanding of what they experience – whether it’s because of race, gender, identity, religious affiliation, or other attributes. So please take advantage of these opportunities for the UND campus to grow together and better understand one another.


Andrew P. Armacost
President, University of North Dakota