Meeting to focus on harassment

By Kelly Canright

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Academic Personal Policy Committee will meet next Thursday to discuss UA's sexual harassment policies.

"The question here is, 'what is the magnitude?'" said hydrology Professor Nathan Buras.

Arizona's present sexual harassment policy was sent to the committee for review by the University of Arizona Affirmative Action office.

"Sexual harassment is a manifestation of unacceptable behavior," Buras said.

"The emphasis needs to be placed on unacceptable behavior. Is it frequent? What is the intensity, so that we will not wield a sledgehammer to drive a nail," he said.

"If I go by the numbers of complaints, there is not a substantial problem, but a lot of people don't know exactly what sexual harassment is," said Helen Mautner, Affirmative Action coordinator.

"That includes the whole compass of the university community," Mautner added.

Statistics compiled by the Affirmative Action office showed that 10 sexual harassment complaints were filed in the 1990-1991 academic year and three sexual harassment complaints were filed in the 1991-1992 school year. Eight formal sexual harassment complaints were filed in the 1992-1993 school year. No statistics were available for last year.

Four complaints regarding discrimination on the basis of gender were filed in the 1992-1993 academic year.

"The policy is full of words, and I need a lawyer to understand it," Buras said. "We need it to be simpler.

"We must agree that we cannot legislate completely common sense, good behavior and good taste. Those social values aren't legislated anywhere," Buras said.

The Academic Personal Policy Committee has invited Janie Nu•ez, the assistant vice president for Affirmative Action, to its meeting next Thursday.

Nu•ez discussed the importance of awareness about sexual harassment.

"If everybody were aware of the policy and their behavior were in accordance, we wouldn't have the number of complaints that we do," Nu•ez said. "Often, people are either not aware of the policy or they are not aware of the behavior they are exhibiting."

Last year the Affirmative Action office worked on the commission for the status of women and the sexual harassment policy. They came up with recommended changes and have sent it on to important governing bodies, including the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the Faculty Senate and the President's Cabinet, Nu•ez said.

"The policy has become much longer because as you work through policies, they become broader in scope and more detailed," she said.

"Faculty and students are grown-up people. I assume they know what they are doing until I am proven differently," Buras said. "Everyone must assume responsibility."

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