Assignment 2: Transforming agency/institution/government policies
Student No: 3052449
Bachelor of Social Work
November 23, 2017
SOWK 433: Gender Diversity & Human Sexuality
Instructor: Lise Durand
I chose the harassment policy of Grant MacEwan University which is effective from October 5, 2010. This policy can be found in the Current Policy Category of University’s website. Harassment policy has focused on the responsibility of administration, faculties, staffs, and students to maintain university’s environment free from any types of harassment. It says MacEwan University deals efficiently, effectively and fairly with any reporting of harassment. The purpose of this policy is to communicate MacEwan’s commitment towards the maintenance of harassment-free workplace (MacEwan Harassment policy, 2010). The policy advocates to promote the equal opportunity and prohibits discriminatory practices. The university has a continuum of policies related to sexual behavior with the regulation of socializing and personal relationships at one end, and sexual misconduct at the other along with the sexual harassment policy in the middle of the spectrum.
The harassment policy and practice of MacEwan University should be transformed due to lack of few important guidelines and information. This policy is not inclusive in the sense that it has missed the details of gender stereotype harassment. An individual can be harassed because she is a woman or because he or she is a transgresses gender, and so forth. The concept of gender harassment is meant to permit redress where a person is harassed based on his or her gender. The existing policy doesn’t speak about the LGBTQ group. LGBTQ people face a higher rate of poverty, stigma, and marginalization which put us at greater risk of sexual assault. Moreover, the society is responsible for both hypersexualizes LGBTQ people and stigmatizes relationships, which lead to intimate partner violence that stems from internalized homophobia and shame (Sexual Assault and the LGBTQ Community, 2010).
Current policy is silent about the barrier-free access of facilities, especially regarding all gender washroom. Transgender and gender variant individuals often experience open or covert emotional abuse and physical harassment while using gender-segregated washrooms. All-gender washrooms are important in contributing to their sense of safety, well-being, and security when exercising their basic right to use a washroom. I am as a member of MacEwan Community, I know that MacEwan has very few all gender washrooms.
I also found that the central focus of the current policy is on sexual harassment rather than other types of harassment. The policy has not adequately described the bullying. Abreu, Black, Mosley, and Fedewa (2016) explain the context of school bullying for the marginalized population and highlights laws and policies preventing the necessary care LGBTQ students need to optimize their school and mental health outcomes.
The policy doesn’t describe clearly about the reporting process of harassment. The process explains that victims are more likely to come forward which is daunting to proceed directly to filing a formal complaint. I found the lack of security to the complainant. Current policy is very silent on this matter. The victims of harassment often feel incapable of confronting due to power and authority, fear of reprisal, personal insecurity or safety and inexperience in dealing with such situations.
I recommend updating the current policy by making it more inclusive, effective and accessible. The new policy should follow the universal acceptance of LGBTQ group issues. The new policy defines harassment based on LGBTQ people in MacEwan Community. The new policy should address the problems of barrier-free access of facilities. In the new policy, I am suggesting at least, two all gender washroom on every floor of each building. The issue of bullying should be described in new harassment policy by providing anti-bullying campaign in MacEwan Community. The anti-bullying campaign needs adequate training, information, and knowledge to the student, staffs, and faculties. Cyberbullying is done through email, blogs, websites, chat rooms, mobile phones, instant messaging, web pages, text messages, online voting websites, and online games. It is important to teach young students about the correct knowledge and attitude towards cyberbullying (Lee, Zi-Pei, Svanstrom, and Dalal, 2013).
For reporting process of any types of harassment, the new policy should provide the online reporting system and direct reporting to the concerned officials as well. The online system is very safe and secure since complainant doesn’t need to meet and face directly with any concerned authority. The universities should increase both the quality and accessibility of their sexual harassment policies as well as the availability of anti-harassment training (Fusilier and Penrod, 2015). The new policy should be available in areas like cafeteria, library, welcome center, student lounge, washroom of MacEwan University. Another good option to make people informed about the harassment policy is using the notice board of the university so that MacEwan Community members know and understand what is the harassment.
The purpose of the new policy is to prevent harassment and violence from becoming part of MacEwan Community by increasing awareness, promoting MacEwan’s fundamental values and beliefs. Every MacEwan Community member has the right to work in an environment that is free of harassment and violence. The new policy excepts the respectful and the professional working relationships with all the employees and contractors. MacEwan Community members are expected to conduct themselves professionally. It will be necessary to change the practice and employee’s personal behavior for the effectiveness of new harassment policy in MacEwan Community. Employees need to provide orientation, training, seminar and human service specialist class on the new policy for fruitful outcome. Firestone, Miller and Harris (2012) explain that sexual misconduct prevention training is represented across different levels of law enforcement training academy curricula and, related, whether continuing education is addressing workplace sexual misconduct (p. 448).
Leskinen, Rabelo, and Cortina (2015) mention that the protection from discrimination and harassment is a matter of human dignity that’s why organizational climates and employment law should responsible due to characteristics of employees on gendered abuse (p. 201). Johnson (2014) has explained Anti-LGBT statements may be described as micro-aggressions in which there may not be intended to harm, but there is a feeling of harm. Sue and colleagues (as cited in Johnson, 2014) defined micro-aggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group” (p. 5). Therefore, employees should be provided the impact of microaggression while dealing with the service users which will be the key fact of the new harassment policy.
As we know, prevention is better than cure; this proverb suites in the case of harassment. Among all the ways to avoid sexual harassment, prevention is the best tool. Preventive ways such as code of ethics and standard of practice against sexual harassment are the internal mechanism which helps to preveent any types of harassment at the workplace. MacEwan should provide information on harassment policy for students, faculties, and staffs by making it easy access for everyone. The concerned authority should take all the complaints seriously. If someone complains about sexual harassment, immediate action to investigate the complaints should occur.
Abreu, R. L., Black, W. W., Mosley, D. V., ; Fedewa, A. L. (2016). LGBTQ youth bullying experiences in schools: The role of school counselors within a system of oppression. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 11(3-4), 325-342.
Firestone, J. M., Miller, J. M., ; Harris, R. (2012). Implications for criminal justice from the 2002 and 2006 Department of Defense Gender Relations and Sexual Harassment Surveys. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 37(3), 432-451.
Fusilier, M., ; Penrod, C. (2015). University employee sexual harassment policies. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 27(1), 47-60.
Harassment policy, D1125. (2010, November 22). Grant MacEwan University Policy Manual. Retrieved from https://www.macewan.ca/wcm/Policies/CurrentPolicies/index.htm
Johnson, L.M. (2014). Teaching Note Heterosexism as Experienced by LGBT Social Work Educators. Journal of Social Work Education 50 (4)748-751.doi: 10.1080/10437797.2014.947165
Lee, M. S., Zi-Pei, W., Svanström, L., ; Dalal, K. (2013). Cyber bullying prevention: Intervention in Taiwan. Plos one, 8(5), e64031Leskinen, E. A., Rabelo, V. C., ; Cortina, L. M. (2015). Gender stereotyping and harassment: A “catch-22” for women in the workplace. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 21(2), 192.
Sexual Assault and the LGBTQ Community. (2010, November 22). Retrieved from https://www.hrc.org/resources/sexual-assault-and-the-lgbt-community