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Saint Mary’s workshop addresses sexual harassment in the workplace

first_imgFueled by the mindset that a Saint Mary’s education cultivates exceptional leaders equipped with the knowledge to pinpoint and respond to injustice, the College hosted a workshop addressing sexual harassment in the workplace in Stapleton Lounge on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Kara Kelly Chair of the department of English, Laura Haigwood, discusses sexual harassment and its impact on marginalized communities during a workshop held Tuesday in Stapleton Lounge.Chair of the English department, Laura Haigwood, who moderated a panel discussion preceding the workshop, said the College aims to prepare students to encounter harsh social realities.“This workshop is the brainchild of President Jan Cervelli, who wants to ensure all Belles have a toolkit for responding appropriately and effectively to sexual harassment, should it happen that you personally experience it,” Haigwood said.Treating men and women with equal respect in professional spaces demonstrates respect for basic human dignity, special assistant to Cervelli, Kara Kelly, said.“We are in a crucial moment in our culture, galvanized by the courageous #MeToo movement to address an issue that has, for too long, been willfully ignored — no more,” Kelly said. “Courageous women with much to lose, and many who have lost much for their resistance to this kind of abuse, have awakened us. We owe it to them, and to all who are part of our College, to root out this problem once and for all and to entrench the workplace quality that we all value.”Kelly said the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that 75 percent of female employees have experienced sexual harassment.“That’s a staggering figure that should give all of us pause,” Kelly said. “For too many women, it rings all too true. Perhaps even more telling about the workplace culture in our country, the EEOC also reports that 90 percent of those who have experienced harassment never take formal action. It’s time to change such a chilling climate.”Navigating instances of sexual harassment can be difficult when the term itself is prone to varying interpretations, Saint Mary’s Title IX coordinator, Kris Urschel, said.“The formal definition is one thing, and we keep that … front and center at all times,” Urschel said. “I think it does warrant a little bit more conversation in terms of ‘What does that truly mean?’ and ‘What does that possibly look like in the workplace?’”Sexual harassment can prevent employees from fulfilling their assigned tasks and from producing the best quality of work, as they may struggle to feel accepted and valued as a working professional, Urschel said. “[Sexual harassment] … interferes with what we refer to as creating an intimidating or hostile work environment,” she said. Professor of history Jamie Wagman said up to 30 percent of college-aged women and up to 70 percent of women in the workplace have been sexually harassed, and their experiences can result in negative self-perceptions, denial of employment opportunities and threats to their physical safety.“Some states have enforced state and local-level legal protections against sexual harassment targeted at LGBTQ people, but currently 30 states have no protection,” Wagman said. “Also, transgender people are especially prone to job discrimination and sexual harassment, and they have little to no recourse.”The field of critical race feminism may serve as a helpful lens through which to view this issue, for it emphasizes the intersectionality of various forces at play, Wagman said. “Racialized sexual harassment calls upon sexual stereotypes of minority women, and this harassment is present across a variety of institutions and is associated with great post-traumatic stress syndrome,” Wagman said. “As Anita Hill wrote in ‘Speaking Truth to Power,’ sexual harassment is underreported. Only three percent of instances culminate in formal complaints.”Unwelcome or threatening behaviors disproportionately impact marginalized populations, such as women of color and individuals of a low socioeconomic class, Haigwood said.“There’s already been lots of discussion in relation to the ‘Me Too’ movement about the situation of women in food services and hospitality services who are, for a number of reasons, more vulnerable and less able to speak out than women who are comparatively more privileged,” Haigwood said. A work environment in which conditions of employment depend on sexual favors, physical acts or verbal requests for or innuendos to such acts perpetrates sexual harassment, Wagman said. “[Sexual harassment] can be verbal or physical,” she said. “It also can be non-verbal. Sexual harassment can occur in the workplace or in a learning environment, [such as in] a school or university. It can happen in many different scenarios, including after-hours conversations, exchanges in the hallways, non-office settings of employers or peers.”S-O-S Coordinator at the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County Amelia Thomas said individuals who have experienced unwanted sexual comments or advances have the agency to decide that they were sexually harassed.“It doesn’t matter if someone means it in a joking manner,” Thomas said. “It’s up to victim to decide what is or is not okay. … Be cognizant of the fact that [sexual harassment] is not based on the person’s intent.”One major misconception surrounding sexual harassment involves the affected populations, Thomas said. “Harassment does not always have to be directed at a specific individual,” she said. “It can be something when you’re looking at groups, whether that’s gender or race or LGBTQ. … You can still make a report even if you’re not the direct victim. If you’re witnessing [behavior] that is offensive to you … you can still make a report, and that is considered sexual harassment.”Tags: EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Kris Urschel, Sexual harassment, Title IXlast_img read more

Korger: Saturday date with Indiana simply unpredictable

first_imgTo say this season has been surprising would be an understatement.Every emotion the brain can produce – joy, anger, rage, hope, disappointment – it’s all been encapsulated within the already wobbly and extending frame of Wisconsin’s 2012 campaign.And boy, could it get even crazier Saturday.The Badgers haven’t lost to the Indiana Hoosiers since 2002, falling 29-32 in Bloomington. But still, with the way things have gone lately, would anyone be surprised by anything this game could produce?A game whose winner will most likely represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten Championship Game, Wisconsin comes limping into Bloomington with an uncertain situation at quarterback, an underperforming offensive line and a tear-jerker of a loss against its archrival Michigan State.Indiana? They come in rolling off two straight conference wins, including the program’s first conference home win since 2009 thanks to a comeback effort against Iowa this weekend. And now, sitting with just a 2-3 conference record, the Hoosiers have a chance to take the lead of all bowl-eligible teams in the Leaders Division with a win over the Badgers. Yes, you read that right: A team with a below-.500 record in conference play has a chance to take the lead in a division during November.Not good.The Hoosiers have found a way to slide into contention for a chance to play for the program’s first Rose Bowl berth since 1968. Just to put things in perspective, the Hoosiers haven’t been the toast of the conference since Lyndon B. Johnson was president, the Vietnam War was in full swing and O.J. Simpson was the running back at USC. Yes, the Hoosiers lost the Rose Bowl against a Trojan team with O.J. Simpson in the backfield.Some would say the fact this game is even relevant – even more, deciding – of the Leaders Division title is a travesty and a farce to a conference that is already severely lacking competitiveness against the other major automatic-qualifying conferences (minus the Big East). I mean, when the top two teams aren’t even bowl eligible thanks to scandal and the rest have unimpressive records, who cares?Well, Wisconsin and Indiana fans do. And maybe even some people outside of that. But, that’s probably where it ends. But maybe others should, considering the unpredictable nature of this Big Ten season.This Hoosier program is fast on the rise under offensive guru and second-year head coach Kevin Wilson. Sure, the wins for the Hoosiers have come against a paper-bag Illini squad and a reeling Hawkeye group, but this Indiana team also fought tooth-and-nail with Ohio State and holds the third-highest scoring offense in the Big Ten behind Nebraska and Ohio State.And it’s no given which Badger team, or rather, what quarterback, will show up to play this coming Saturday. Will it be the weathered and unproductive Danny O’Brien, or the comeback kid Curt Phillips?Wisconsin has already handled its fair share of adversity this season. Montee Ball’s offseason incidents, a seemingly revolving door at quarterback and a firing of an offensive line coach after two games. But Wisconsin and Bielema have continued to respond to each setback the same way, putting their proverbial heads down and plowing forward. Which is really the only thing you can do on the rocky road this team has endured so far.So it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Badgers blew out the Hoosiers Saturday. But then again, it wouldn’t exactly be a shocker if they lost as well.Stave’s injury doesn’t exactly make it easy to diagnose the Badgers’ chances against Indiana. Heck, it doesn’t make it easy to decide against anybody at this point. One thing’s for certain: UW’s offense won’t be able to rely on its defense to give it time to wake up like it did against the Spartans. Facing the best offensive competition since its loss on the road against Nebraska, Indiana can put points on the board quickly. But without Stave, will the offense be able to keep up with its opponent’s production?The Badgers have had two weeks of preparation and healing time, giving the coaching staff and players an extra week of prep time to develop a gameplan and getting players like left tackle Ricky Wagner healthy again.So who knows what’s going to happen on this trip out to Indiana. But one thing’s for certain. In this season of Big Ten football, uncertainty is the only certainty.Nick is a fifth-year senior majoring in English and history. Catch him on WSUM’s “The Badger Herald Sports Hour” Sundays from 4-5 p.m. and “The Student Section” Mondays from 4-6 p.m. Have a comment on the column? Let him know at [email protected] or on Twitter @NickKorger.last_img read more