Sexual harassment in colleges is reaching an all time high. What many people don't realize is that the majority of the cases take place within the schools infrastructure, not with the students. Sexual harassment against faculty members is all too common in today's college news, such as the case at SHSU. A federal sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit has been filed against Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas in the name of two art faculty members.
The individual charged with sexual harassment, specifically, is the Art Department Chair of 2008, Tony Shipp. Shipp hired two additional faculty members in 2008; they were a married couple by the name of Garry and Jasmyne Graybill.
After a short while, the married couple felt that the situation had gotten beyond being able to ignore, so they went to the Dean of Arts, Jaime Hebert. When Shipp found out about this, the married couple claims, Shipp refused to give them the promised merits raises and even posted their jobs as open.
Ever since its start, this case has had its ups and downs. On January 9th, the defense made a motion to have the case dismissed. On the same day, a U.S. Magistrate recommended the same thing, but in the same swift act, denied it outright.
The sexual harassment suit was also eventually dropped. That's not because the Graybills feel differently, they just couldn’t prove that it created a hostile work environment. The couple also couldn’t show that the University was infringing on their Civil Rights.
The Graybills insist that Shipp constantly asked the couple out on dates as a 3-way group. The school fights the allegations with the fact that it didn’t create a hostile work environment. The school instigates that the claims only “suggest” that there was any type of sexual harassment or that he was threatening with their continued employment.
SHSU holds firm to their claims that the allegations cannot be proven to be threatening to their safety, humiliating to their reputations, or have long-term effects on their feelings of personal worth. The school is also adamant that Shipp did not make the sexual harassment or invitations as a part of their continued employment, or pay, in any way. A trial date has been set for late 2012, that should give both sides plenty of time to get their stories together. With the Magistrate looking down on the case and the failing of the sexual harassment suit, a retaliation suit looks dim on the horizon.
In the meantime, these problems facing colleges seem to continue to sprout up all over the country. The best we can do, as parents, teachers, and friends, is to make sure we are educated and prepared for the situation if it should ever occur. The best way to do that is by taking a class. Sexual harassment classes online can inform and prevent better than any another tool that can be utilized.
Sexual harassment does not have to be part of our schools, our jobs, or our lives. By taking sexual harassment education classes, our generations to come can avoid these problems and prevent them when they do happen.