Policy statements and laws

Zacker and Paludi (1989) reported that some campuses have adopted a policy statement that includes information about consensual relationships. The Hunter College Sexual Harassment Panel (Paludi & Barickman 2000) has implemented several of these interventions. For example, in collaboration with Hunter's Employee Assistance Program, the Sexual Harassment Panel facilitates a four-part series on sexual harassment for administrators.

These workshops include case studies, role playing, and presentations on legal issues involved in sexual harassment. The program objectives include (1) learning how informal and formal power or authority is perceived by workers, (2) learning the politics involved in such nonverbal gestures as touch, body position, personal space, and (3) learning the social meanings attributed to behaviors that legally constitute sexual harassment.

Cyril and Egelman (1988) offered suggestions for addressing sexual harassment, including: (1) conducting information sessions for staff on the policy toward sexual harassment on campus; (2) holding noontime brown bag seminars on the issue; (3) using peer educators among workers; and (4) including materials on sexual harassment in courses on human sexuality.

Biaggio, Brownell, and Watts (1990) also offered interventions that can be implemented in order to challenge attitudes that perpetuate harassment: (1) placing items relating to sexist comments or sexual invitations on teaching evaluations, (2) publishing articles on sexual harassment in newspapers; (3) disseminating information about institutional policies that prohibit sexual harassment at a worker orientations and dormitories, and (4) setting up community activist strategies to raise public awareness and to protest particular instances of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is not only a legal concept. It is a moral concept, as well. The concept of sexual harassment seems to include within its borders disparate kinds of behavior that are wrong for different reasons. Some of them are abuses of power. Some are invasions of privacy. However, as long as they result in the imposition of disadvantageous terms and conditions in employment or education because of sex, they should continue to be prohibited by Title VII and Title IX.

It may be that hostile environment sexual harassment will come to be known simply as “gender harassment,” so that its association with sexual harassment will become a thing of the past. In my view, this would be a good thing. In all of the strategies stated in this work, a considerable amount of time is devoted to the labeling of legally defined behaviors as sexual harassment. Case studies are presented to generate personal examination and generate discussion. The dilemmas point out a continuum of issues in the area of a sexual harassment which are not addressed by policy statements and laws.

References

Biaggio, M. K. , Brownell, A. , & Watts, D. (1990). “Addressing sexual harassment: Strategies for prevention and change. ” in M. Paludi (ed. ), Ivory Power. Albany: SUNY Press. Briscoe, Dennis R. (2004). International Human Resource Management: Policies & Practices for the Global Enterprise. Routledge: New York. Cyril, J. , & Egelman C. (1988). Educational strategies. Workshop presented at the Conference on Sexual Harassment on Campus, New York, NY. Paludi, M. A. , & Barickman, R. B. (2000).

“Sexual harassment of students: Victims of the college experience. ” In E. Viano (Ed. ), Victimization: An international perspective. New York: Springer. Remick, H. , Salisbury, J. , Stringer, P. , & Ginorio, A. (1990). “Investigating complaints of sexual harassment. ” In M. Paludi (Ed. ), Ivory Power. Albany: SUNY. Stein, Laura W. (1999). Sexual Harassment in America: A Documentary History. Greenwood Press: Westport, CT. Zacker, M. , & Paludi, M. A. (1989). Educational programs for academic sexual harassment. Unpublished manuscript, Hunter College.