10/8/2013: There’s an ongoing debate about the constitutionality of sexual harassment rules and procedures. From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
WASHINGTON, October 1, 2013—The University of Montana’s (UM’s) new sexual harassment policythreatens the First Amendment rights of students and faculty. Drafted in consultation with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the policy was approved by the agencies last week. Faculty members are also alarmed that a list of faculty who refuse to attend the university’s trainings on the new policy will be reported to the federal government.
“Not only has the federal government approved an unconstitutional speech code, it has demanded a list of the names of faculty members who don’t attend a training session about it,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Worse still, students and faculty may face discipline even if they are cleared of harassment and discrimination charges. Couple these flaws with broad, vague definitions, and the result is that UM has vast discretion to silence students and faculty members, to the detriment of fairness, clarity, and free speech.”
It will be interesting to see how UO’s new training addresses these issues. The announcement went out today:
Next month the University of Oregon will introduce a new online Preventing Workplace Harassment training that will be required for faculty and staff, including GTFs, and strongly encouraged for student and temporary employees.
The program will be available online beginning mid-October to better inform our faculty and staff about behaviors that constitute prohibited discrimination and sexual harassment. The goal is to clarify employees’ understanding of reporting responsibilities as it relates to harassment and to raise awareness about our obligation to report credible information regarding incidents of prohibited discrimination, including sexual violence, which encompasses sexual assault, partner or dating violence, and gender-based stalking.
This training is important for all of us who work in the UO community. Increased awareness can stop inappropriate behavior, prevent its recurrence and foster a more supportive community. Under federal law, educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance are required to train their employees to know how to identify and report sexual harassment and sexual violence. This new online training will help to ensure that we are appropriately educating faculty and staff about these issues.
Members of the university leadership team have been working on this program for the last year, and have collaborated extensively with the Faculty Advisory Council and Executive Leadership Team on its development.
The training is approximately 90 minutes long and all employees are expected to complete the training by March 30, 2014. Going forward, it will be required every three years.
More information about the program will be available in the coming weeks. Please look for that information and make this training a priority.
Thank you for your attention to this important responsibility.
Scott Coltrane, Interim Senior Vice President and Provost