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Zappert to implement Stanford's new sex harassment policy

STANFORD -- Dr. Laraine T. Zappert, clinical psychologist at Cowell Student Health Center and an authority on women's mental health, has been named Stanford University's first sexual harassment coordinating adviser, effective immediately.

Zappert will oversee the implementation of Stanford's new Sexual Harassment Policy, which was unanimously endorsed by the Faculty Senate in September.

Her major duties will include training and supervising advisers to help with sexual harassment concerns and complaints, educating the campus community about harassment issues, and keeping records of formal charges and their disposition.

She will report to Provost Condoleezza Rice and serve as liaison to the vice provost for student affairs and the vice president for faculty and staff services.

"We are fortunate that someone with Dr. Zappert's talent and experience has accepted the appointment as Stanford's sexual harassment coordinating adviser," Rice said. "These are significant responsibilities, and I look forward to working with Dr. Zappert on her new and challenging assignment."

Zappert, 48, did both her undergraduate and graduate work at Cornell University, culminating with a doctorate in social psychology and organizational behavior in 1976.

After post-doctoral work, she came to Stanford in 1978 as project director and research associate at the Center for Research on Women. Shortly afterward, she joined the Counseling and Psychological Services staff at Cowell and eventually became director of the Women's Group Program there.

In 1980, Zappert began private practice in clinical psychology in Palo Alto, and later joined the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is currently a clinical associate professor of psychiatry.

She also has served as a lecturer in the School of Education and was principal investigator (in the early 1980s) on a landmark study that compared the experiences of graduate men with those of women in science, engineering and medicine at Stanford.

"I have two perspectives on harassment," Zappert said. "One is from my clinical experience working with graduate students and professional women. There have been cases where we've had to deal with sexual harassment issues in therapy.

"Another perspective comes from my research on graduate student women," she said. "While that research was not focused on sexual harassment, in those instances when harassment did occur, it appeared to have an impact on women's career decisions."

Although Zappert had no role in formulating Stanford's new sexual harassment policy, she believes it provides a "very workable" blueprint for dealing with the problem.

"It's going to require some education and some initiative on people's parts, but I think we can make it work," she said. "It's a very thoughtful policy and it's obvious that a lot of work went into it."

One of Zappert's first tasks will be to publish a pamphlet that will spell out the new policy and offer guidance to those who are affected by harassment.

By mid-January, she hopes to begin training her team of advisers - which may include approximately six faculty, six staff members and six students appointed by the provost - plus about six panelists appointed by the president who will assist schools and administrative officers in dealing with harassment complaints.

Zappert will be based in the Ombudsperson's Office (Building 300 in the Quad). She will work closely with Ombudsperson Leah Kaplan, who was instrumental in drawing up and implementing Stanford's original sexual harassment policy in the 1970s.



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