Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Southern Illinois University and sexual harassment

The FreeU Blog reports that the Faculty Senate of Southern Illinois University has recommended changes to a new SIU sexual harassment code that embraces the fundamentals of due process of law. The proposed faculty amendments are as follows-

1. Due process rights shall be afforded to all parties.
2. A Sexual Harassment Review Board shall be formed to work with the compliance officer.
3. A person shall be banned only if he or she poses an immediate threat.
4. Judicial Review board members may be appointed to the Sexual Harassment Panel for cases
involving faculty.
5. The accused shall be notified about the complaint within five working days.
6. The accused and complainant shall have access to a redacted version of the preliminary
investigative report.
7. The accused and complainant shall have the right to appeal and present their own cases.
8. The Sexual Harassment Panel shall submit a report to the chancellor.
9. Records of cases shall be kept under strict confidentiality.
10. The definition of sexual harassment shall be consistent with the Illinois Human Rights Act.

The dankprofessor enthusiastically endorses these recommended amendments, but with full knowledge that the university administration may choose to reject some or all of these recommendations.

The FreeU blog notes:

This is progress but the Faculty Senate only went halfway. The overly broad definition of “sexual” harassment still includes everything but the kitchen sink, and still intrudes on the classroom.

The new code expands the definition of “sexual” harassment and adds to the laundry list of possible infractions. This is precisely the kind of “chilling” approach that the Office for Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education) rebuked several years ago. The code’s definition allows accusers to claim “hostile environment” in the face of innocent quips, humor, gestures, and “sexually-explicit” material that is “inappropriate.” It extends the code to on and off-campus activities. I went over this ground in my “Open Letter.”

What SIU needs to do as well as most other universities is to seek out the counsel of the FreeU blog on sexual harassment policy.  The FreeU blog has the dankprofessor’s seal of approval.

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November 26, 2008 - Posted by | ethics, higher education, litigation, sex, sexual harassment, sexual politics, Southern Illinois University

1 Comment »

  1. […] SIU Faculty Senate, a tendency may develop to initially screen out the bad. Such was the case on my prior posting on SIU. So after regaining my wits, I searched out the SIU policy on consensual relationships.  […]

    Pingback by Second thoughts on due process at SIU « Dankprofessor’s Weblog | November 27, 2008 | Reply


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