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.