College is stressful, there?s no denying that. Most students juggle a job, tests, papers, and other assignments with no problem; it?s all a part of living the college experience. However, sexual harassment is something that no college student, male or female, should have to deal with, yet it happens on college campuses across the country. Even the largest, most prestigious campuses are not immune.On Tuesday, Nov. 23, University of Colorado athletic director Dick Tharp resigned from his post, after it was alleged that the school?s football program used sex and alcohol to entice recruits, and lawsuits appeared that accused players or recruits of sexual assault.
At Yale University, reports of sex crimes have gone up over the past six months, when an investigation by the Yale Alumni Magazine found that Yale wasn?t reporting complaints handled informally by an internal board of students, professors and administrators.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association on graduate students, 13 percent of participants said that they had experienced sexual harassment; 21 percent said they had avoided classes for fear of being sexually harassed; 11 percent said they had tried to report an incident of sexual harassment but were unsuccessful in doing so; and three percent said they went so far as to drop a course because of sexual harassment. While women have fi led the majority of complaints, men are not unaffected by sexual harassment.
A study done by professors Christopher Uggen, University of Minnesota, and Amy Blackstone, University of Maine, suggest that men experience sexual harassment in the same ways that women do, but societal framing causes most men to “shrug it off.”
Still, Uggen encourages men to report these occurrences and identify it early. “When they remain quiet, they risk experiencing greater levels of harassment as they enter later stages of life,” Uggen said.
Even here at West Chester, sexual harassment is present. Statistics from the Social Equity Offi ce show that in 2003, two incidents were reported, both by a female student against a male professor. No reports of student to student sexual harassment were fi led.
“Students should not ignore harassment or intimidation of any kind; that they should get help, either formally form Social Equity or informally from the Women?s Center,” said Robin Garrett, director of the Women?s Center. “Even if you are the only person who fi nds the behavior inappropriate, you still have a right to speak up for yourself,” she said.
The Social Equity Offi ce has laid out several points that men and women can refer to at www.wcupa.edu/_admin/social.equity/ SEXHARASS.htm in order to both defi ne and report sexual harassment. In addition, on Nov. 18, the Women?s Center and the Social Equity Offi ce teamed up to offer panel discussions on that very subject to further teach students about how to identify and address harassment on campus.
If any student feels as though he or she is being harassed, they are encouraged to speak with Barbara Schneller, director