Gillian Reinhard ’20
Sexual harassment: an almost ubiquitous element of the college campus, continually eviscerating its core values. While this feature is constantly a subject of discourse amongst the student body, we rarely seem to consider the implications and presence of sexual harassment in the college workplace. At Trinity, recent litigation has demonstrated that sexual harassment remains as pervasive an issue as ever in the field of higher education.
Sexual harassment at any level, against any individual, is unequivocally unacceptable. That goes for harassment in any form, against people of any gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or creed.
The Tripod’s latest story concerns a case of sexual harassment on Trinity’s campus against an employee of Campus Safety, ironically the very people who strive to assure the protection of Trinity’s students. In this case, the harassment was allegedly directed by a male employee against another male employee.
This is emblematic of another class of harassment that is undoubtedly underreported and unaddressed in the realm of civil discourse and community discussion. How an institution addresses allegations about an issue so significant in the #MeToo era as sexual harassment reflects its attention to and respect of societal values.
Sexual assault and harassment is a major issue on our campus, as it is on many campuses throughout the country. The SGA’s recent release of its “Peer Standards” video encouraged me to ponder the culture of discrimination on our campus, particularly with regards to sex. While it was wonderful to see a diverse group of student leaders on campus unashamedly reject racism and sexism, it was nothing that surprised me or suggested that progress was being made. The peer standards video began with a screenshot of a Tripod article detailing allegations against the men’s hockey team during the 2016-2017 school year. Where was a member of the men’s hockey team in the “Peer Standards” video who could call out this behavior? Very frequently, when I go out to the frats on a Saturday night, I am unwilling groped. This is not an experience unique to me. Where in the “Peer Standards” video was a member of Greek Life who could comment on this, besides the President of the IGC and a few choice sorority sisters?
Reading through the court documents of this sexual harassment lawsuit suggested to me a culture of toxic masculinity in the workplace. It is undeniable that there are similarities amongst the student body. It is difficult to suggest a solution to these large questions, and the people who need to address this cultural problem will probably not be reading page two of the Tripod. However, I do believe Trinity, in facing these serious allegations, owes its students some official explanation. Our administrators must set a higher standard than the student body.