UNH President's Commission on the Status of Women
Report on the Status of Women
Reported Sexual Assault and Harassment at UNH
Policies against sexual harassment and sexual assault reinforce the University's commitment to have a campus free of sexual victimization. There are five offices where students, faculty, and staff may report incidents of sexual violence. These include the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program, Conduct System, offices of Affirmative Action and Academic Affairs, and UNH Police Department. The data in this report reflect sexual violence cases reported to the first four offices.
The Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program provides support services to student survivors of sexual violence. SHARPP facilitates the survivor's recovery by creating a safe environment in which survivors complete their education. This includes providing legal, academic, medical, and administrative advocacy services to survivors and their significant others
The UNH Conduct System (see Endnote 1) provides students with administrative procedures to formally report incidents of sexual victimization. Reports to the Conduct System include only incidents which occur between UNH students. Incidents are reported to the Conduct System on the basis of being in violation of the Rules of Conduct, which all students are bound to follow. Rules specific to sexual violence are Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. For the years covered in this report, they are defined as (see Endnote 2) :
Sexual Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or written communication of a hostile or sexually offensive nature.
Sexual Misconduct:: behavior which includes but is not limited to indecent exposure, inappropriate touching without expressed permission, sexual activity without expressed permission, or sexually violent behavior.
The offices of Affirmative Action and Academic Affairs handle reports of sexual harassment where the relationship between the complainant and accused is not student to student. Examples of cases include but are not limited to: faculty to student, staff to employer, and faculty to staff. The Affirmative Action office is involved in a case if either the complainant or accused is a staff member and the office of Academic Affairs is involved in a case when the complainant or accused is a faculty member.
Affirmative Action and Academic Affairs are responsible for implementing the UNH policy on sexual harassment. The Board of Trustees for the University System of New Hampshire adopted this policy in June 1987 to protect faculty, staff, and students from sexual harassment. According to this policy, no member of the university community may sexually harass another. Any faculty, staff, or student will be subject to disciplinary action for violation of this policy.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Reported Incidence of Sexual Violence and Harassment at UNH
Since the 1990-91 school year (when 32 sexual assaults were reported), there has been a steady increase in the number of sexual assaults reported to SHARPP. Although it is difficult to determine precisely why this has increased, we can identify several factors that may contribute to increased reporting. Increased exposure of SHARPP and the topic of sexual violence in our culture may have prompted more survivors to disclose their experiences of sexual victimization when in fact the true incidence of sexual violence has not risen. On the other hand, the actual incidence of sexual violence at UNH may be increasing.
During the 1991-92 academic year, a total of 52 sexual assaults3 against students were reported to SHARPP. Twenty-two of these assaults occurred during the 91-92 academic year and 30 were reported to have occurred during previous academic years. The majority of these assaults occurred between people who knew each other.
In 1992-93, 59 sexual assaults4 were reported to SHARPP. Thirty- one occurred during that academic year and 28 occurred during previous academic years. As with the previous year, the majority of these assaults involved people who knew each other.
In 1993-94, 55 sexual assaults were reported to SHARPP. Thirty-five occurred during this academic year. The other reports were of assaults which happened prior to this year. All but one of the assaults involved persons who knew each other. Most (39) occurred off campus, however, nine assaults took place on campus.
The number of cases reported to the Conduct System has remained relatively stable over the past two years. It is not surprising that there are discrepancies between the number of incidents of sexual violence reported to SHARPP and the number reported to the Conduct System which has a more formal procedure. It is estimated that only one in ten sexual violence survivors formally report their assaults.5 However, data from the Conduct System indicate that even fewer students report formally.
During the 1991-92 school year, there were 15 sexual harassment/sexual misconduct cases adjudicated through the UNH Conduct System. But in 1992-93, the number of cases adjudicated dropped to 5 and in 1993-94, 7 cases were adjudicated.
Affirmative Action and Academic Affairs
The following data represent the reported incidence of sexual harassment for the years 1990-91 to 1993-94. Type of harassment and resolution vary from case to case. We saw increases in reporting of sexual harassment cases through 1992-1993 but a large drop in cases reported in 1993-94. This may be due to actual changes in harassment at UNH, or other factors may operating. That is, more exposure to the topic of sexual harassment may have encouraged more reporting. Specifically, this may have been the case after the well-publicized Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas case. Likewise, after the University's decision regarding the Silva case, women may be less inclined to report.
TABLE 1A: REPORTED SEXUAL HARASSMENT 1990-1994
* Discrepancies exist between number of complainants and number of accused because several complainants named the same accused.
TABLE 1B: TYPE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
TABLE 1C: TYPE OF RESOLUTION
* The total number of types of harassment and resolutions exceed the total number of complaints because for each case there may be more than one type of harassment and more than one resolution.
** Includes complaints that were withdrawn and filed with the office of Civil Rights or the NH Human Rights Commission. Also included letters of apology and action taken against non-employees (Vendors, State Legislator). Finally, one employee was placed on probation.
The following examples are intended to illustrate the types of cases that are presented above. They are drawn from actual cases, but have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the cases. The women who find themselves targets of sexual harassment report feeling uncomfortable, helpless, angry, and embarrassed. These feelings may affect decisions such as how often to go to class, whether or not to seek help from a particular professor or supervisor, and what course to take in the future. Many also experience physical symptoms of stress -- headaches, stomach aches, etc.
Suggestive Behavior: Remarks, Staring at or Commenting on One's Body. Faculty to Student Example.
* He knew I was breaking up with my boyfriend. I was losing weight; he would make comments about my body. He even said I'd go far because I was so very attractive. A lot of emphasis on attractive. A lot of scanning my body. I prefer someone to look me in the eye [rather] than at my chest. He made me very uncomfortable. I told him that I didn't appreciate his comments and told him he made me nervous when he stared at me. I sit in the back of the class now. Sometimes I have trouble concentrating. Often I catch him staring at me. I avoid going to his office for help because I'm afraid to go.
Unwelcome Requests for Date : Supervisor to Employee Example.
* He asked me out four times and I refused. I didn't think it was right to date my supervisor and I told him so. He kept telling me about furniture that he was buying to redecorate his apartment. He asked me to help him pick out furniture for his bedroom. He wanted something masculine but sexy, so I knew what he was hinting at. I don't want to alienate him; he's my supervisor after all. He does my performance evaluation.
Objectionable Touching: Faculty to Graduate Student and Instructor to Student Examples.
* After a faculty picnic he gave me a ride back to my apartment. He stopped the car in front of my apartment building and got out to open my door. He offered his hand; I took it. When I got out he pulled me toward him and put out his arms around me. I tried to push him away and then he kissed me. I told him he'd better leave. He kept telling me to relax and asked why I was so nervous. He said he could help me with my career and my defense of my dissertation.
* He was my lab instructor. It started with some smart comments. There were the typical sexual innuendoes. He got worse as the semester went on. His comments got dirtier and he would always rub up against me. He grabbed my breast once. A couple of times he asked me if I needed a massage; he said I looked tense. He would never leave me alone.
1. The UNH Conduct System is now called Judicial Programs Office.
2.. Rule numbers C1 and C2 in the UNH Rules of Conduct.
3. Almost all these assaults were against women
4. Almost all these assaults were against women
5. See, for example,Koss, M.,"The Underdetection of Rape," Journal of Social Issues 14, 1992, pp. 61-75.