on Campus Is
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What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment does not have to do with personal, private relationships. It happens when a person introduces a sexual element into the academic setting and thereby intimidates, coerces, or humiliates someone because of gender or sexual preference. It is a breach of the trust that exists among members of the academic community. It can occur between individuals of different sexes or the same sex, and between persons of all ages. It can involve supervisor and employee, faculty member and student, fellow employees, or fellow students. Sexual harassment creates confusion because it blurs the boundary between professional roles and personal relationships. The harasser introduces a sexual element into what should be a collegial situation.
According to guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, behavior constitutes sexual harassment in an academic setting when:
The person engaging in such behavior explicitly or implicitly makes your submission to it a term or condition of your employment or academic standing.
The person engaging in such behavior makes decisions affecting your employment or academic life according to whether you accept or reject that behavior.
The personís behavior is an attempt to interfere, or has the effect of interfering, with your work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.
Levels of harassment
Gender harassment: Generalized sexual remarks and behavior that convey insulting, degrading, or sexist attitudes.
Seductive behavior: Unwanted, inappropriate, and offensive physical or verbal sexual advances.
Sexual bribery: Solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior with promise of reward.
Sexual coercion: Pressure for sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by threat of punishment.
Sexual assault: Assault or rape.
Who is sexually harassed?
Most victims of sexual harassment are female and most harassers are male. Other forms of discriminationóthose based on race, age, religion, or disabilityómay be combined with an incident of sexual harassment.
Victims of sexual harassment often find themselves harassed by persons who have some power over them. Examples include faculty members or administrators harassing students, and supervisors harassing employees. Sometimes, however, staff or faculty members may be harassed by coworkers, and students by other students.
What are common forms of harassment?
∑ Insistent invitations for drinks, dinner, dates
∑ Unwanted touching
∑ Obvious sexual gestures
∑ Uninvited visits to someoneís hotel room during conferences
∑ Offensive graffiti
∑ Threats of physical assault
∑ Sending lewd cartoons, cards, presents, or letters
∑ Subtle or overt pressure for sexual interactions
∑ Assault and rape
∑ Sexist comments
What are common reactions to harassment?
∑ Changing your major department
∑ Leaving job, college, or city
∑ Depression, anxiety, loss of self-esteem
∑ Headaches, nausea, weight loss or gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders
∑ Inability to concentrate at work or school
∑ Stress in relationships with coworkers, friends, and family
Must sexual harassment be tolerated?
NO! Sexual harassment is illegal. It is a form of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, and the official policy of the City University of New York. Brooklyn College adheres to CUNY policy, which explicitly prohibits sexual harassment throughout the university community:
"It is the policy of the City University of New York to prohibit harassment of employees or students on the basis of sex. This policy is related to and is in conformity with the equal opportunity policy of the University to recruit, employ, retain, and promote employees without regard to sex, age, race, color, or creed. Prompt investigation of allegations will be made on a confidential basis to ascertain the veracity of complaints, and appropriate corrective action will be taken.
"It is a violation of policy for any member of the University community to engage in sexual harassment. It is a violation of policy for any member of the University community to take action against an individual for reporting sexual harassment." (The City University of New York Board of Trustees, adopted January 25, 1982)
What can you do if you are harassed?
Say NO to the harasser! Be direct.
Write a note to the harasser. Describe the incident and how it made you feel. State that you would like the harassment to stop. Send the letter by certified mail. Keep a copy.
Keep a record of what happened and when. Include dates, times, places, names of persons involved, witnesses, and who said what to whom.
Talk to a member of the Brooklyn College Sexual Harassment Advisory Panel. This brochure includes a complete list of panel members and their college telephone numbers. You may contact any member you wish.
You may find that discussion with a panel member solves the problem. Or you may decide to make an informal or a formal complaint. The choice is yours.
We understand that you may be reluctant to talk about your experience. This is normal. You may be uncertain about whether you really have been harassed. You may feel shock or embarrassment over the incident, or a sense that you are somehow responsible. You may have a fear that people of a different sex or sexual orientation will not take your complaint seriously, or general doubt that the situation can be satisfactorily resolved.
We will try to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of everyone involved and will treat any consultation and complaint with seriousness and confidentiality. We have designed our procedures to be flexible.
If you are considering contacting the panel, keep these important facts in mind
You donít have to file a complaint; you can simply come and talk about the problem.
You donít have to face the entire panel; you may speak to only one member, in confidence.
The panel will act on your complaint only with your explicit permission or instruction.
You may discuss a complaint without being identified to the person you name (although the full complaint procedure will not go forward unless you are willing to be identified to that person). If you are willing to be identified to the accused, more concrete steps, such as mediation, can be initiated to resolve the situation.
If you decide to make a formal complaint, you will be kept informed of the panelís activities, as will the person named in the complaint.
Sexual Harassment Advisory Panel