Affirmative Action vice provost presents sexual harassment workshop
Kenneth Lehrman, vice provost for affirmative action, conducted a sexual harassment workshop for faculty and staff at Penn State Abington last week. Chancellor Karen Wiley Sandler initiated Lehrman's visit to further the goal of creating a safe environment for all in the wake of the abuse scandal.
Lehrman concentrated on the numerous and varied options available to report sexual harassment with confidentiality and to protect against retaliation. He also reviewed Penn State’s official policies, offering real-world examples and answering questions from the packed audience.
Lehrman took the additional step of staying overnight and inviting anyone who wanted to talk confidentially to meet him at a designated off-campus location. Sandler directed supervisors to be flexible and to refrain from questioning anyone who was absent for a short period of time.
Abington faculty and staff had been invited to email a generic scenario directly to Lehrman, and he presented his response to one such example. Abington faculty and staff also offered their own thoughts and suggestions on the situation.
Lehrman and Sandler presented specific resources for questions and reporting incidents:
- Sexual Harassment Resource Person (SHRPs): Sandler asked Abington current SHRPs Carol DeBunda and Anthony Gyapong to identify themselves at the meeting. She also reminded the audience that two members are being added to Abington’s SHRP team to increase reporting options. SHRPs undergo annual training and have direct access to the Affirmative Action Office.
- Penn State Affirmative Action Office: Lehrman and his staff are available to anyone with concerns, anonymously if requested. Confidentiality is guaranteed, and in most instances, his office will not move forward without the consent of the complainant. If the actions do not meet the legal test of sexual harassment, Lehrman discussed approaches he can take to ensure that the problems cease.
- Retaliation: In addition to Penn State’s commitment to handling retaliation promptly and effectively, information about state and federal protections are available.
- Hotline: The University's Ethics and Compliance Hotline is available at 1-800-560-1637. It is managed by a third party off-site and provides follow-up and other options.
Topics: child abuse prevention