Saturday, October 4, 2008

Model Harassment Code: The Winner is . . .

The civil liberties group FIRE rates colleges from "Green Alert" (good record) to "Red Alert" (bad record). Among the "Red Alert" schools, FIRE shames the "Worst Five" by profiling them in a full-page ad of the U.S. News College Rankings issue. Public shaming led one of these schools (Valdosta State) to change its obnoxious policies censoring speech on Facebook (!). Valdosta was taken off Red Alert in recognition of its new found appreciation of civil liberties.

SIU-Carbondale is a "Red Alert" school. Here is the description of "Red Alert" status:
"FIRE adds a college or university to its Red Alert list when an institution acts with severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of its students or faculty members. While abuses occur on many campuses, Red Alert campuses have policies and/or practices that pose a particularly dangerous threat to basic freedoms; they are the 'worst of the worst' when it comes to liberty on campus."
But SIU-C can change its ways and avoid becoming a U.S. News poster child for suppression of "fundamental rights." One of the ways is to emulate the policies and practices of "Green Alert" schools. After reading the sexual harassment codes of "Green Alert" schools, I award the "best model for SIU-C" prize to . . .

Bucks County Community College! For its policy on sexual harassment, click this link.

(Honorable Mention: University of Pennsylvania)

Under the "Hostile Environment" category--the area resulting in the worst abuses by colleges--Bucks clearly defines what it is and is not: It is a "pattern" of severe, persistent, or pervasive behavior. It is NOT " every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group." Under both categories of sexual harassment, the code offers clear examples.

By contrast, SIU-C's current and proposed code is

*Expansive to the point of absurdity. Moreover, there is no discussion of what behavior is NOT sexual harassment.

*SIU's code does not include the "severe, persistent, or pervasive" legal standard. That standard must be hammered into the code and follow-up training.

*SIU's proposed code bans consensual relationships--a great way to deter potential hires who happen to be single. Where do people meet others for dating and mating? The workplace, of course. I suppose we will be treated next to a pre-dating contract requirement of what a person may or may not do on dates that fall in a gray zone?

*SIU's proposed changes add "sexually-explicit music" and computer images to the code. (Legal Counsel apparently copied this language from the SIUE code). Grab your Nanny Filter, men and women, and make sure you don't join a Facebook or Myspace group that is "sexually-explicit!" If uncertain, check with the bluenoses over at the proposed Office for Compliance.

The Sexual Harassment Working Group, SIU Legal Counsel, and constituency groups ought to "buck up" and read the model code discussed above.


Taxpayer said...

As a Carbondale resident, why should I spend my money on other kids' football stadiums OR scholarships? The cost-benefit is great for SIU but lousy for Carbondale.

Consider: The 20-30,000 year-round residents pay an additional tax so that 1,000 more students attend SIU? Some of the money comes back in increased taxation of that 1,000 but scarcely enough to make up for what we Cdale residents ("suckers") pay.

This sounds like old-fashioned smokestack chasing to me. Bribe people to come and they will come. Every depressed, has-been place in America has tried this gambit. Occassionally it work but in most cases it does not. And who is left with the bill? "Suckers."

i-History said...

Dear Taxpayer,

I think you meant your comment for "Lipstick on a Pig, part 2" below. Please post it there.