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September 05, 1985 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-05

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h
Reports
By LAURA BISCHOFF harassment b
Reports of sexual harassment at the are never repo
nwiersity have jumped significantly Sexual hara
in the past five years, but Affirmative severity from
Action Director Virginia Nordby plied threats,
thidks the number of incidents may prohibits com
actipally be decreasing. that interfere
The rise in reports does not academic or p
necessarily mean that more people ce.
arebeing harassed, Nordby said. MELANIE
SRECENT SURVEY conducted by women's stud
Indiana University's Office of said "sexual t
Women's Affairs shows that between on campus. It
0 and 30 percent of all female studen- big of a proble
experience some sort of sexual only seen the t
harassment while in college, but only Sexual hara
2 t#3 percent ever report it. kinds of situa
The survey also said that about one- male professo
third of the colleges in the United Nordby said
Stites lack formal grievance about harassi
pr-pedures for harassment complain- in the wor
ts, homosexuals.
The University is among the two- Although w
thkds that have formal complaint complain th
procedures, but they vary depending harassed by
r.which college in the University sity sophomor
processes the complaint. co-worker har
IN SEPTEMBER OF 1980, Univer- comments wh
sity President Harold Shapiro issued THE VICTI
a policy statement which defined to be identifi
selual harassment and stated that the made in front
University would not tolerate "Don't wear s
harassment of employees or students. turns me on,
And in 1981, in response to the rising barassing.
nupber of reports filed, the Univer- But most of
sit, created the "Tell Someone" students and p
rpgram in the Affirmative Action Of- Several prof
ie to lend support to victims of to leave the
sexual harassment and provide policy was issu
ppesentations for any group within the PROFESSO
University. harassment a
Since the policy statement was to resign or to
isgued, the number of reports rose formal hearin
stegdily from five in 1980 to nine in "In my re
19#1, 15 in 1982, and 30 in 1983, where been five or s
the number has held constant. given the o
'HARMIN SPIESER, the director Only one we
ofhe "Tell Someone" program, war- process of a h
s against putting too much trust in that one heres
statistics, because numbers don't "And three
refect the actual amount of sexual tracts have

of sexualharassi

ecause most incidents
irted.
assment can range in
sexist comments to im-
and University policy
nments and advances
with an individual's
professional performan-
HAWTHORNE, a
ies teaching assistant,
arassment is a problem
's difficult to judge how
em it is. Perhaps we've
ip of the iceberg."
assment occurs in all
tions, not just between
rs and female students.
she gets complaints
ment between students,
k place, and among
omen more commonly
at they are being
men, one male Univer-
re reported that a male
rasses him with sexual
ere they work.
IM, who preferred not
ed, said that comments
t of customers such as,
horts to work because it
" are particularly em-
the complaints involve
professors.
fessors have been forced
University since the
ued.
RS ACCUSED of sexual
re given the opportunity
odefend themselves in a
g, Nordby said.
ecollection, there have
ix professors who were
opportunity to resign.
nt through the formal
earing, and at the end of
signed.
or four untenured con-
not been renewed"

because of sexual harassment com-
plaints, Nordby said.
DESPITE THE program's success
in dealing with professors, there are
no provisions for students who are ac-
cused of sexual harassment, Spieser
said.
"It is difficult to resolve the student-
student situation right now because
we don't have any jurisdiction" over
them, she said, adding that if a Univer-
sity code of non-academic conduct
existed, it could handle that problem.
"The 'Tell Someone' workshops are
effective in spelling out what the
University expects in how students
and employees behave, but you can't
tell if there are any attitude changes
(about sexual harassment)," said
Fran Martone, a facilitator who has
been conducting the workshops for
three years.
OFTEN, ATTITUDES behind
sexual harassment are too deeply
rooted to be changed in a 1 -hour
workshop, Martone said.
Although students are encouraged
to tell University officials if they are
being sexually harassed, they should
be careful about who they tell,
because accusations can create
grounds for a slander suit, said Jean
King, a legal advisor for some women
who have filed formal grievances with
the University.
Graduate students face a more
delicate situation if they file
harassment reports than un-
dergraduate students do. "Graduates
are in a hostage situation," King said,
because "their whole career is on the
line.
"They risk their doctorate and any
help the professor might have given in
getting a job," she said.
BECAUSE OF THIS, King
sometimes advises graduate students
to finish their theses before filing
formal grievances.
"If you initiate a grievance
proceeding, the whole department

41,,

Doily Photo by ANDI SCHREIBER
Last spring two women were convicted for spray painting this billboard on Main Street. They said that the ad
exploits women. The billboard was taken down after repeated vandalism.

hears about it within a week.
Graduate students are evaluated
behind the scenes in ways they never
know about - you can't stop the
grapevine," said King, who worked as
a secretary for a doctoral program for
five years before going to law school.
"It's a very hot, dangerous subject.
Every time you take a step it's a mine
field," King said.
DESPITE THE RISKS, King en-
courages people to report harassment
incidents, even if on a confidential, in-
formal level.
Sexual harassment violates federal
and state laws, and Michigan law
provides for compensatory damages,
King said. The Elliott Larsen Civil

Rights Act of 1976 prohibits sexual
discrimination in education and
defines sexual harassment in
Michigan.
"It is my impression that there is a
commitment to get rid of this (sexual
harassment) by the highest levels of
the University. They don't do it with
headlines in The Daily or The Ann Ar-
bor News, but they do it," King said.
NORDBY ADDED, "There are two
things that are absolute no-nos at the
University - one is hand in the till
and one is hand on someone else's
body."
"Tell Someone" workshops are
designed to increase the level of
awareness of what constitutes sexual

harassment. They are run by trained
facilitators and 12 to 40 students and
staff members usually attend.
Speiser thinks that the program
reached a few thousand students last
year, and the increased awareness is.-
partially responsible for the increase
in reports filed..
"I THINK IT IS working and I think .
it's a very positive step," Hawthorne;,
said. "In the short time that it's beenk
operating, it's done a lot in terms of
validating (sexual harassment) as a
legitimate problem at the Univer-
sity," she said.
But problems still remain, because
if harassment charges made against a
See PROGRAM, Page 15

Homosexuals
.stll rally for
bylaw c'*hange

By CHRISTY RIEDEL
On March 21, 1984, University
President Harold Shapiro issued a
policy statement prohibiting
Aiiscrimination against homosexuals.
ighteen months later, homosexuals
are still waiting to see if the policy
will have any effect.
University homosexuals and their
supporters had originally lobbied for
a change in the regents' bylaws, but
after 15 months of unsuccessful cam-
paigning, they settled for the policy
statement when Shapiro offered it.
THE POLICY statement is a "step
in the right direction," said LSA
senior David Jackson.
"One thing I see the policy doing is
freeing up students to report
harassment," said Nancy Blum, the
lesbian advocate in the University's
Human Sexuality office.
But so far, the number of
harassment calls the office receives
per year hasn't changed, said Jim
Toy, the office's gay male advocate.
BUT, HE ADDED, the policy
statement is too new to produce any
easurable results. "I don't think we
now what its limitations are yet,"
Toy said.
Discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation includes: "denying
employment, promotion, admission,

tenure, housing, or in any other way
treating someone differently on the
basis of his or her sexual orientation,"
said a former lesbian advocate in the
Human Sexuality office.
The policy statement does not apply
to the University's interactions with
other organizations, such as the
Reserve Officers Training Corps
(ROTC). A change in the regents'
bylaws would.
BLUM SAID harassment and
discrimination against homosexuals
at the University is "pervasive and
subtle."
Diana DeVries, a member of the
task force set up last September to en-
force, implement, and publicize the
policy, said "problems are everything
from being harassed in the dorm to
getting homophobic professors who
make jokes or say gay people are
sick."
Conflicts between gay and
heterosexual roommates are one of
the main problems the Human
Sexuality Office receives calls for.
The callers usually say that the
heterosexual roommate is afraid of
being propositioned by the
homosexual, Toy said.
Another reason people call the of-
fice is because of comments faculty

It's slim pickings for last
minute housing searchers
By CARRIE LEVINE about the housing situation for retur-
Students all over campus are stor- 'ning students yet because their first0
ming bookstores for posters to obligation is to the incoming fresh-!
decorate their rooms and rushing to men," Fields said.
unpack their belongings, but LSA All freshman are guaranteed on-!
senior Wendy Wisbaum would be campus housing, but upperclassmen#
happy just to find a place to live this interested in living in residence halls]
year. must fight for the few available slots.%
Jotting down phone numbers in a So Fields and about 30 other returningt
spiral notebook, Wisbaum patiently students are attempting to get into'
scoured the housing listings at the campus dormitories through the
Student Activities Building this week University's housing office,said Leroy
in search of a home. Williams, housing program director.
BUT WISBAUM'S task won't be But the residence halls can house only
easy given the tight off-campus rental 10,000 people, and there are about
housing market. And she isn't alone. 35,000 students on campus.
At least 30 other students are scram- Twenty of the students seeking
bling for rooms in the University= dorm rooms this year are living in
residence halls, where vacancies are| temporary housing provided for them
residene hby the University at the cost of $5 per
Housing officials estimate the off- night, Williams said. Temporary
Homusnghofsingialsnsyiate thsoffshousing consists of sleeping space in
campus housing vacancy rate is as the study areas of triple suites pBaits
low as 1.5 percent this fall. An im- Hall. Students who own the leases of
proved national economy probably these rooms have $25 credited to their
means that more students are able to accounts no matter how long their
afford apartments and other forms of ,guets"nstatterihmw lter
off-campus housing despite the high guests stay, which may be no later
cost, explained Jo Rumsey, assistant than September 13. males spots
director of housing information. remain open in various 'traditional"
Wisbaum said that when she calls residence halls around campus, ac-
an advertised apartment, the landlord cording to Marlene Mantyk, senior
informs her it has already been housing advisor. The difficulty in
leased. She had made plans for fall matching studentshwith available
housing before spending a semester rooms occurs because most of the
abroad, only to discover upon her students applying for housing are
return that her prospective roommate graduate students and seniors who
had landed a job as a resident advisor don't want to live in the traditional
and left her without an abode."- halls because they house primarily
Sophomore Laura Fields did not ex- freshmen, she said.
pect to be returning to Ann Arbor this A list of "no shows" - students who
fall. She was planning to transfer and have signed leases but have not
therefore did not re-apply last March. claimed their rooms - will be com-
"I've been calling the housing office piled Monday. The Housing Office can
for about two weeks, but all they could then begin selling the leases of those
tell me was that they didn't know students, Mantyk said.

members make in class, he added.
Toy said that most of the complaints
are settled informally.
PART OF the problem of
harassment and discrimination is
caused by ignorance, Jackson said.
"Many people, just through their own
ignorance, think they can harass a
gay," he said.
The potential for change does exist,
however. DeVries said that although
Shapiro's policy statement has
produced no sweeping changes at the
University, the task force is an official
channel for students, faculty, and
staff to report incidents of
discrimination.
And homosexuals at the University
are not giving up in their fight for a
bylaw change. Jackson said he hopes
the policy statement will be a stepping
stone toward that goal.

"Basically, to receive anything less
is to be treated as a second-class
citizen," Toy said.
There are two main avenues for
students who have sexuality problems
or questions.
One is the Human Sexuality Office,
which offers short-term personal
counseling and makes referrals for
long-term or specialized counseling.
The office's hotline operates mainly in
the daytime and early evening hours,
and offers crisis intervention and
short-term counseling.
The other is the University's Office
of Affirmative Action, which handles
discrimination charges within the
University.
Members of the University com-
munity who want to get involved in
See HOMOSEXUALS, Page 15

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