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Berkeleyan

Sexual-harassment training options increase
Enhanced training programs, workshops, and briefings reflect campus commitment to building awareness at all levels

| 20 August 2003

Defining sexual harassment isn’t hard. Harassment is bothersome, demeaning, irritating, and annoying behavior. Sexual harassment is harassment of a sexual nature.

But knowing how to prevent it — plus identify it and understand what to do if it occurs — is more complex. That’s why the campus is expanding its training programs this fall and making it clear that all faculty, administrators, and staff have the twin responsibilities of becoming knowledgeable about sexual harassment and understanding how to respond appropriately if such situations arise.

The campus is offering a new online training program, launched this week (see story on page 6) for the entire campus community, plus expanded opportunities for in-person workshops for faculty and staff on preventing sexual harassment.

“I am very pleased to announce the new measures,” said Paul Gray, executive vice chancellor and provost. “The campus takes sexual harassment seriously, and this latest effort reflects our commitment to maintaining a respectful and supportive work and education environment.”

All who attended the annual two-day meeting of deans and department chairs on Tues., Aug. 19, took part in a presentation on responding to sexual-harassment allegations; deans and chairs are expected to participate in the new training programs as well.

Several UC campuses have recently reviewed and enhanced their approaches to preventing sexual harassment, prompted by allegations of such harassment at Boalt Hall last fall. “At Berkeley, we’ve added resources and options to improve understanding and training about the issue,” says Nancy Chu, the campus’s Title IX officer.

Sexual harassment is against federal and state law, says Chu. California law holds each employee personally responsible for complying with the laws that prohibit sexual harassment.

In a letter last week to deans, chairs, and senior-level supervisors, Gray wrote, “We are expecting that all employees in your unit, under your leadership, will complete a briefing of some type on the subject of sexual harassment prevention.”

Three main options are available to help everyone on campus become knowledgeable about their responsibilities when it comes to harassment, says Chu. These resources were specifically designed to accommodate the varied schedules and duties of faculty, staff, and students.

“I really believe in the value of in-person, interactive workshops, and I hope departments will take advantage of the ones we’re offering. We also realized, though, that to reach as many people as possible, offering an online course would be very useful,” says Chu.

The enhanced training options and information resources include:

• A web-based module. This brief but comprehensive online program can be completed in less than an hour. Individuals may choose to go beyond the one-hour program and learn more by exploring a variety of web links to other useful resources. Upon completing the course, the participant is issued a certificate.

• Special workshops. The Academic Compliance Office is offering directors and administrators the opportunity to schedule an hour-long workshop for their units.

• Department meetings. An in-person briefing that will last 20 to 30 minutes and is led by campus Title IX staff can be incorporated into a regularly scheduled department meeting.

The campus’s Academic Compliance Office and the Title IX Office are overseeing the expanded training and education efforts. Sarah Hawthorne, assistant vice provost for academic compliance, selected and oversaw modifications to the online training program and is coordinating training with the chairs and deans. A new Title IX outreach coordinator has been hired to assist Chu with the workshops and departmental training.

“All the training and prevention efforts will help bring clarity to the policies. They will also let people know where they can go for help, either in reporting problems or in getting clarification for issues that reside in the gray areas,” says Chu.

For information about sexual-harassment prevention and training, call Chu at 643-7985. The campus policy on sexual harassment and complaint resolution procedures is online at titleix.chance.berkeley.edu.

Links:

Online tutorial is a concise guide to harrassment basics