Sexual Harrassment Statistics Discussed

Faculty Council Seeks to Clarify Policy

University officials presented Harvard's 1993 sexual harassment statistics to the Faculty Council yesterday, stressing both individual and institutional culpability in following and enforcing University policy.

Dean for student Affairs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Margot N. Gill and Associate Dean for Affirmative Action Barbara J. Grosz guided a discussion of the figures, while University Attorney Robert B. Donin discussed recent court decisions which have deemed some institutions partially liable for the transgressions of their employees.

According to Secretary to the Faculty Council john B. Fox Jr. '59, discourse on the report, which will not be released publicly, centered on the need for efficient and effective dissemination of information regarding the University's policy on sexual harassment.

There was a sense among council members that some segments of the Harvard community are not sufficiently familiar with the policy, Fox said.

Professor of Chinese History Peter K. Bol, a council member, emphasized the difficulties faced by administrators in predicting the influence of their admonitions.

"We of course need to try to make sure that people understand our policy," Bol said. "But nobody knows who knows what."

Bol said he will consider proposing a poll at Next week's council meeting to determine how many community members know about the policy. But he added that, practically, the University can never guarantee whether people who are in fact familiar with he policy will act accordingly.

While the number of formal complaints of sexualharassment overall decreased last year, accordingto Fox, Bol said he could not be sure whether thedwindling numbers indicates real reductions ofharassment.

"We simply don't know what the relationship'sis between formal complaints and actual behavior,"Bol said.

The University still is responsible forproviding potential complainants with the tools todo so, Fox said, even though the characterized theactual number of formal charges filed last year as"a handful at most."

Donin suggested a number of ways to increasecommunity awareness of Harvard's harassment policyin an interview last night.

"While the process is generally wellunderstood, we need to remind people that both theUniversity as an institutions and the individualwho engages in sexual harassment can be heldliable for that individual's actions," Donin said.

"But more importantly," he added, "members ofthe Harvard community should follow Universitypolicy and state and national laws because theyare good policies and the right things to do."

Donin characterized the communication of policyinformation as an "ongoing process," one whichcouncil members Daniel L. Goroff, associatedirector of the Bok center for Teaching andLearning, said is a routine part of teachingfellow orientation.

"Bok Center orientations always introduceissues of sexual harassment, gender sensitivityand inclusiveness," Goroff said.