|January 21, 2000||Volume 7, Number 9|
Harassment office to promote prevention in 2000
The U of S Discrimination and Harassment Prevention program has made a steady climb over the past 19 years in becoming accepted as a full-fledged part of the mainstream life of the campus community.
And Carole Pond has been with it every step of the way.
In 1982, when the University decided it needed a part-time sexual harassment officer, Pond was that staff person.
By 1993, when the position became full-time, Pond filled it.
In 1996, when the mandate expanded to include other forms of harassment and discrimination, thanks to new requirements in provincial Occupational Health and Safety legislation, Pond was again the person on the front-line.
Then, in December 1998, as a sign of the programs growing institutional acceptance, the Board of Governors adopted an extensive policy and procedures manual, which lays out, for example, principles about the right to work and study free from discrimination and harassment, about peoples individual responsibilities, and about academic freedom
It also outlines procedures for informal resolution of problems, and for more difficult situations that require an investigation.
Pond says this past year she has been working within the new policy and has continued to carry out her main role providing a prompt, confidential service, based on requests for help, to anyone in the U of S community.
Her latest annual report, for September 1998-September 1999 shows that she got 97 requests for help, 55 of which actually turned into direct requests for assistance from Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services.
Forty per cent, or 22, of the complaints came from men, and 60 per cent, or 33, came from women.
Pond says 31 of last years 55 cases involved "personal harassment" which in the past three years has consistently been the highest occurrence.
"Its people not getting along, and its not really based on anything," Pond says just interpersonal disputes.
Sexual harassment was the second most common complaint last year, with eight people complaining about that.
Next came, in order, race (seven), gender (two), sexual orientation (one), and systemic discrimination (one). Finally, there were four cases of "differential treatment", two based on race and two on disability.
Pond says there were also "several incidents involving alleged criminal offences such as threats of violence and sexual assault and all those complainants were referred to the police.
Some of the behaviors complained about included:
Pond says now that Board policy is established, its time to go the next mile, to prevention.
"My hope is that in the new year, this office goes on to develop really meaningful education and outreach programs, to prevent these things from happening."
She wants the office to become "more proactive".
"I think thats where the whole thing goes at the University we have a policy now: Do people understand it?"
She sees the bottom line to the policy as: "We have to treat each other with a basic level of respect, and just be decent to each other.
"Its a long-term process."
Pond has been at it for a long while now, and it appears shell stick with it, to see that it really does make a difference for people on campus.
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