Monday, February 8, 2010

Fear Factory: Sexual Harassment "Reform"

Are you an employer who would like to effectively police your workforce? Instill fear that any misstep (real or imagined) could lead to dismissal, removal from the workplace, or mandatory "sensitivity training"?

Don't waste money on some high-priced consultant. Simply go to the web site of your local university and look up "Sexual Harassment Policies and Procedures" (SHPP).

Voila! For the price of a brief web search you will find a workplace model that empowers you and self-polices the employees. The model features:

1. Vague definitions of harassment that have nothing to do with sex.

2. Self-policing: The university model turns all employees into informants. If they refuse to inform on a violation of the incomprehensible policy, then others can inform on these refuseniks.

3. You will have no shortage of informants: coworkers (or customers/students) can turn in others for frivolous reasons and never have their identity known to the accused.

4. Even better, trained police ("advisers") will coach accusers and write their complaints for them (apparently, those in college cannot write a simple report of events).

5. Finally, have your lawyers repeat (again and again) "this is required by law" (even if it really isn't).

Sound unreal?

Welcome to Sexual Harassment "Reform" at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In today's Daily Egyptian, the front page story is "Sexual harassment training begins, questions remain."

Questions indeed!

To bring readers up to speed, I am providing a select list of links on the issue (see below). The "sexual" in harassment is really lipstick on a pig: often the charge has to do with speech that makes someone uncomfortable or allegedly creates a "hostile environment." Like the drag show recently held on campus, the dressing covers what is beneath: in this case, "sexual harassment" is a speech code in drag.

As a recap, here is a Hit Parade of SIU-related links on sexual harassment, free speech, and due process:

This link sums up criticisms of the Code being shoved on faculty, staff and students:

Sexual Harassment Procedures: You Have the Right to ... (mumble mumble)

"The Right to Know Your Accuser" (Leonard Gross)

Professor Gross's entry got the most "hits" of any FreeU entry. It shocks people to know that you have NO right to know your accuser.

Lest any one think that there are only a few victims of harassment codes, they may peruse the full list of FreeU posts:

The Sexual Harassment Establishment (S.H.E.) would have you believe that this is a tempest in a teapot. "Mistakes were made" with the John Y. Simon case but that was the exception, S.H.E. says.

Fact check: the guilty-until-innocent abuses have such a long history here that two prior blue-ribbon panels urged real reform.

Phil Howze, one of the courageous voices of reason here at SIUC, said in today's newspaper: "never again" should individuals be deprived of due process and of their dignity based on a rigged system.

An objective observer viewing the "massive resistance" to reform would change the university slogan to "See you next time." When next time comes, it won't be pretty.

Salukis deserve better.

PS: The campus unions were to bargain the procedures but they have been silent as a tomb. I'd love to hear their perspective and what they plan to do. As a Faculty Association member, I'm beginning to wonder if my dues money is well spent. Convince me that it is.


paranoid said...

Regarding the unions, the Daily Egyptian article says that the procedures have not yet been finalized. I read that to mean that the university administration is still negotiating with the union but is going ahead with the training as if the procedures have been finalized. It may be a tactical choice from the union to work behind the scenes rather than publicly for now.

i-History said...

Yes, I spoke with a union leader today and he/she confirmed that this will be bargained.

I'm more concerned about the administration: after all, the lengthy discussion of the policies (and draft procedures) led to Board Adoption of said policies and the Faculty Senate (with union leaders there) feeling that they were not heard.

Stay tuned but stay vigilant folks!

Old Man Winter said...

Love the ironic use of "Massive Resistance." Maybe the S.H.E. can carry forward Strom Thurmond's 1957 filibuster to any proposal to alter their Structure of Power by reading from the--presumably South Carolina--phone book. Maybe they can follow Ross Barnett's example and launch the "Battle of SIUC" to prevent Reason, Fairness and Due Process from entering Faner or the Administration. Maybe they can ban the recent film 2081 from the Student Center theatre in the name of Re-education. Perhaps they might even be willing to admit that power is but a function of those who use it.

sexual harassment lawyers said...

It's a good news especially for the victims of sexual harassment.