New harassment policy in place

October 10, 2000

Nick Marinello

In its Oct. 3 meeting, the University Senate approved a new harassment policy for Tulane. The change in policy represents a standardization of the university's philosophy, principles and procedures regarding sexual and other forms of harassment.

The policy, which will be "applied in a manner that protects academic freedom and freedom of expression within the university," was officially put into place shortly after the senate meeting. It replaces a number of separate sexual and other harassment policies that had been in effect at Tulane and covers all faculty, administrators, staff, students and other individuals affiliated with Tulane by contract. Victoria Johnson, general counsel for the university, said that the new policy is in response to several United States Supreme Court cases decided in 1998.

Those cases, said Johnson, limit an employer's liability in harassment cases involving its employees only if the employer has "clear complaint procedures that are distributed to all employees and the employer takes prompt action to investigate and resolve employee complaints." Judith Lewis, associate professor of social work and chair of the Senate Committee on Affirmative Action, which worked on the policy, said that her committee will now take up the need for harassment awareness training on campus.

"We can recommend the need for training about this policy," said Lewis. "This is important for everyone, especially those who are in the position to receive complaints." The full text of the new policy may be viewed on the University Senate's website,

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