Monday, December 29, 2014

Policy Is One Thing But Enforcing The Policy Is Another

I hear a lot people saying what good are anti-discrimination laws if no one is enforcing the law and they make a good point. Laws and policies are only as good as the agencies that implementing the laws.

Case in point, Cornell University has a non-harassment and discrimination policy, which states,
Cornell University’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness is grounded in providing an environment that is free from all prohibited discrimination, protectedstatus harassment, sexual assault/violence, and bias activity, in particular when such actions are directed at a member or group of the Cornell community because of that individual’s or group’s actual or perceived age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, or any combination of these or related factors.
The Advocate has an article about a PhD student who is being harassed and the university is doing nothing about it.
When Filipina doctoral student Meredith Talusan came out as trans at Cornell University earlier this year, she knew she might face social pushback. As a transgender woman of color and social justice activist, she was well aware that she could encounter stigma and ignorance.

But little did she know that the response from one housemate at the Cornell-affiliated Telluride Association would escalate so quickly into harassment and ultimately endanger her housing and scholarship. And she could only hope that the university administration would intervene on her behalf as she lodged a formal complaint — a possibility that has, she tells The Advocate, been bypassed, as the administration continues to not take her claim of mistreatment seriously.
Once again when you speak-up about the harassment you become the bully,
When house members demanded a formal review of Talusan's behavior, she refused to comply, according to Salon. When a vote to remove her was called in response, several housemates tore up their ballots, ending the vote. Subsequently, Talusan was anonymously accused of bullying by a housemate and suspended immediately for her actions — a suspension that currently remains intact and has kept her from receiving her room-and-board scholarship.
They suspend her with only an anonymous complaint but when she complained earlier all they did was issue a no-contact order and told her and her harasser had to stay 25 feet apart.
"Essentially," she tells The Advocate, "the Telluride Association has not only failed to adequately address my concerns, but by prolonging the situation and refusing to back down in the wake of public pressure against them, without any evidence to contradict my version of events, then supporting house members who took retaliatory action against me by suspending me, they're exposing me to more attacks just so I can continue to fight for myself and future trans students, so we can have the right to be treated equally and fairly in their programs."
Unfortunately this is all the too common in bullying situations agencies do nothing and then when the victim complains or defend themselves they are the one who is punished.

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