Dealing with Sexual Harassment

  • Proactively inform and discuss with students cultural attitudes and actions they may confront before the group comes into contact with the culture so the students will be prepared as much as possible for the encounters they might experience.
  • Any time there is any accusation of sexual harassment, begin journaling the situation. That journal shall include the date of the complaint, the description of the incidences, the persons involved, and the proactive plan and follow through that takes place in dealing with the situation. That journal shall be shared with the Academic Dean upon return and kept on file for documentation. If any meetings need to be held, the Dean will arrange those to seek further reconciliation. (Certain persons such as the Asbury University attorney should be kept abreast of the situation.)
  • Cross-Cultural Experience trips travel literally all over the world and have interaction with some cultures that hold very different worldviews than U.S. culture and therefore, have different expectations and laws which govern behavior. Some of those cultures would be considered more conservative than American culture. With that in mind, it may be necessary for the professor/leader to require Asbury University students to act/dress in a manner not necessarily to one’s liking (usually more conservatively). This request and other similar ones will not be considered sexual harassment. Indeed, they are proactive measures which may promote respect for the group and indeed avoid comments or actions which might be construed as sexual harassment from the host culture to the group.
  • Some cultures might be considered more liberal in the behavior that is allowed before the definition of sexual harassment is reached. It should be noted that the Asbury University professors/leaders cannot control the behavior or comments of persons from those cultures and shall not be held responsible if someone is offended by persons outside the group. The professor/leader will try to promote proper dress and action among the participants so as to promote respect from those which they encounter. The professor/leader shall also proactively talk about this subject with the group and seek understanding if someone within the group becomes offended by an outsider.
  • Asbury University professors/leaders need to be proactive in avoiding putting themselves in any situation where they might be alone with a student. Professors/leaders should think proactively about how to meet with a  lone student in a quiet, but public place, about not entering the hotel room of a student who is alone, nor allowing a lone student to enter the professor/leader’s hotel room, etc. IF the professor/leader finds him/herself in such a situation, he/she should extract him/herself from the situation as gracefully and quickly as possible and document such in a journal.
  • Married students, those who are couples prior to trip departure, or who form a relationship on the trip may show affection for one another on the trip in a manner that makes the rest of the group quite uncomfortable and/or is quite unacceptable within the host culture. These students, if the situation is known about prior to trip departure, should be proactively advised of appropriate behavior and expectations prior to departure. In addition, while on the trip the professor/leader has the right and responsibility to confront inappropriate behavior.