Handling Harassment

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Reviewing the evolution and enforcement of a sexual harassment policy for FAS in "Sex and Secrecy at Harvard College" (January-February 1992, page 67), author Edward L. Pattullo cited the Faculty Coordinating Committee on Sexual Harassment's 1990 report. It stated that sanctions in the nine formal cases brought in the preceding five years ranged from a cautionary letter, to unpaid leave, to "instructions that the individual have no further contact with...students, faculty or staff and no access to University property, and a required date of resignation was set." Pattullo noted that the very existence of such extreme cases is "made known only to those immediately involved, except...in annual reports available to faculty members on request but otherwise not circulated" to the College.

The committee's most recent report (for the 1995-96 academic year) lists 11 instances of "informal intervention" and 22 instances of "direct advice" (discussion of the incident and possible courses of action) resulting from officer-undergraduate encounters. Peer (student) contacts generated 1 formal complaint, 9 informal interventions, and 14 instances of direct advice. The report noted the assistant dean for coeducation's belief that "the continuing rise in these numbers does not reflect an increase in incidence so much as it does an increase in the awareness of and availability of the Adjunct Advisers, whom the students...seem more willing to approach for help."

Read more articles by: Tara B. Purohit
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