Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 83, Number 1 (Nov. 1981)
Wineke, William R.
Religion is "in" on campus, pp. 19-27
"On Wisconsinn" WISCONSIN MUSICAL KEY CHAIN 4. $9.95 FANS! RELIVE THE THRILL OF YOUR BADGER FIGHT SONG! (Please cut on dotted line and mail in your envelope.) COLLEGE SPIRIT SPECIALTY! Please send me __ Wisconsin Musical Key Chains at $9.95 each plus $1.25 Shipping and Handling per order. Ohio Residents add 5% Sales Tax. TOTAL AMOUNT ENCLOSED (Check, Money Order, VISA or MasterCard) 5 MasterCard No. _ Exp. El VISA Card No. Exp. A,4,4rnc.~ City State -Zip ianata~rA DIVERSIFIED SALES REPRESENTATIVES, INC. 100 Parker Court, Chardon, OH 44024 Telephone: (216) 285-9157 Sexual Harassment Continued from page 18 student who is asked for a date by a faculty member is likely to feel pressured to accept even though she would prefer not to. Now, if there were a rule prohibiting a faculty member from asking a student for a date, this would protect the student, and such protection would be a good. On the other hand, in the face of such a ruling, a lot of spontaneous relationships-indeed, some that end in marriage-might never get off the ground. So we've got to decide whether, on balance, it's best to have any sort of rule, and if so, how to write it to pro- tect a potential victim at the least cost. "One important thing our committee did-which to the best of my knowledge no one else in the country has done-is to un- derstand that there is not a problem of sex- ual harassment but a variety of problems. No one has written a rule specifically di- rected to the teaching enterprise. We need to deal with it. We have to be very careful to protect academic freedom. Some things that are done for legitimate teachifig rea- sons and that a teacher probably ought to be entitled to do, nonetheless might have consequences harmful to women. Some material legitimately used for teaching might be especially offensive or demeaning to women, or put them in an inferior posi- tion. Suppose you are teaching an impor- tant novel which suggests that a woman's place is in the kitchen and in the bedroom. What should the law be? Since all of us in- volved in formulating these rules are part of the academic enterprise, it's not surprising that we came to the conclusion that the teacher should be allowed to choose these materials and use them. This is a case in which we simply can't have our cake and eat it too. It's a question of where the greater good lies. "At the same time, we need to protect students against abusive treatment in the classroom. One concrete example: a teacher might, for pedagogical reasons, use racial epithets or those demeaning to women, not because that teacher wants to demean blacks or Jews or women, but per- haps as shock technique. Should the peda- gogical value of doing that outweigh the negative impact on the students? We came to the conclusion that it should not. So one of our rules makes it clear that a teacher is not allowed to subject students to that kind of offense-not allowed to use racial epi- thets, for example, or to call a woman a bitch for the sole purpose of trying to wake people up, shock them, or make a point. "Our committee heard about absurd things faculty did, things terribly demean- ing to women, with no significant teaching function. One classic example: a faculty member shows a slide of a nude woman in a course to which such a slide is totally irrele- vant. And the excuse is to gain attention! Well, any faculty member who can't get students' attention in some other way needs to learn something about teaching. Yet, there were no rules against this kind of thing before. "Often such outrageous behavior stems from a lack of awareness that it offends. This is the way some people have grown up, what they are accustomed to doing, and they never stop to think that it might be hurtful to others. I know of instances where, when it was brought to the faculty member's attention, he was perfectly happy to discontinue it. For others, how- ever, it's not simply their sensitivity that needs to be increased; they need to know that the rule is there. "I don't mean to say that sexual harass- ment happens every day or that it is com- mon among faculty members. I don't think that is so. I think it's clearly the exception. I think few faculty members, for example, offer to exchange grades for sex, or other- wise pressure students for sexual favors. But, on the other hand, it isn't one-in-a- million, either. Sexual harassment happens often enough on our campus that we need to be officially concerned. "We've been talking about faculty and students, but a great deal of the problem ex- ists elsewhere in the University. There are many complaints from women in the classified staff (secretaries, clerks, mainte- nance staff) about sexual harassment. You see, when a woman moves into an area long dominated by men, sometimes men resent it. They can't prevent her having an equal opportunity to get the job, but they can find ways of getting back at her; ways of saying, 'You may have the job, but we're still the boss.' And they can make her life miserable by physically and verbally harassing her. "This semester our committee will look at ways to make the new rules against sex- ual harassment effective. Suppose some- one is accused of a violation. If the matter is pressed, there will be a hearing. (We've al- ways had a hearing procedure, but we don't know if it is adequate for handling charges of sexual harassment. There is, for exam- ple, no assurance that any member of the hearing body will be female.) "The very process of investigating a complaint is sensitive. When a person brings a claim of sexual harassment to us, we have to find out the other side of the story, of course. But a host of problems thus arise: for instance, does the victim want us to go to anyone? Often an inquiry would have to identify the complainant, and she, feeling understandably vulnera- ble, may not want her name known. Some- times victims don't want to lodge a formal charge of misconduct, yet they do want it to stop. We need to provide a place where such a person can come and feel comfort- able. We recognize that all the rules in the world won't do any good unless people feel free to use them." El 22 / THE WISCONSIN ALUMNUS IIQIII Address Si-at.....
This material may be protected by copyright law (e.g., Title 17, US Code).| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright