Stanford University Home

Stanford News Archive

Stanford Report, February 4, 1998

Sidebar - Responding to harassment: 2/4/98

Responding to harassment

Men or women at the School of Medicine who feel they have been sexually harassed can take any of several steps to deal with the problem.

Concerns about sexual harassment can be brought informally to Martha McKee, the school's ombudsperson (498-5744), or to one of Stanford's 35 sexual harassment advisers. Issues of sexual harassment at the School of Medicine fall under the university-wide sexual harassment policy that was formally adopted in 1993. The policy statement is available from the school's Office of Student Affairs and Office of Employee Relations, as well as from the ombudsperson's office.

Another resource for anyone with concerns about sexual harassment is Lorraine Zappert, the university's sexual harassment policy officer, at 723-1583 or harass@leland.

In her Jan. 23 presentation to faculty and students, Dr. Bernice Sandler of the National Association for Women in Education also offered several suggestions for handling such situations:

* To call attention to the offensiveness of a comment, Sandler said, you can use the "Miss Manners" approach and say, "I beg your pardon" or "I can't believe you actually said that."

* You can use humor and playfulness with a response such as, "Is this a test to see how I handle sexual harassment?"

* You can pull out a clearly labeled "SEXUAL HARASSMENT NOTEBOOK" and say, "Could you say that again? I'm writing a book [or doing a research project] on sexual harassment, and I want to write that down."

* You can send a private letter to the person with a factual description of what occurred, your feelings about what happened and how you would like to see things change. The letter should be sent by certified mail, with no copies to anyone else, Sandler said. More than 90 percent of the time, this face-saving approach succeeds in causing the person to change his or her behavior, she said.