On-line Sexual Harassment Training
Joe Wenderoth

First, answer the following questions, then check to see if your answers match the correct answers, which are provided below. At the end of the quiz, you will be asked to "accept" the document with all of the correct answers marked. You must review the document before accepting it.

Q:  Leonard Mullin, an African-American Professor in the Music Department, is in his office listening to Snoop Dogg's cd, "Doggy Style." Melinda, his Caucasian graduate student teaching assistant, knows what he's listening to because she has looked at the cd case, and she knows from People magazine that the lyrics of this album are sexually explicit. Melinda sees that Professor Mullin is pleased by what he is hearing. Is Professor Mullin sexually harassing Melinda? A: yes. B: no.

[A:  A: Yes. It's obvious that Professor Mullin, an African-American man, is trying to get to the booty.]

Q:  Chair Quanback has three graduate students over to his house to discuss a project they are working on. Chair Quanback's hairless cat is lying on a soft green chair next to him as he talks with the graduate students about their project. When they have finished with their talk, Chair Quanback begins to pet the cat. The petting is soon transformed into a kind of thumping of the cat's back leg and the area just in front of her tail; it sounds like a spanking—it may even be a spanking—and the cat seems to be enjoying it. Is Chair Quanback sexually harassing the students? A: yes. B: no.

[A:  A: Yes. The fact that the cat is hairless means that vigorous petting is indeed spanking, and one should never spank a living thing (in America) in front of others. It is permissible, in some cases, to vigorously pet an animal, depending upon the animal's hair and the force of the petting.]  

Q:  Dean Jung is 55 years old and is not generally considered attractive. She is overweight, has large breasts, and often displays a good bit of cleavage. This, in itself, is not sexual harassment, but it may become sexual harassment if:
     a) she intentionally drops a pencil into said cleavage   
     b) she laughs in such a way as to cause excessive jiggling
     c) she fails to put on a sweater when someone who is attracted to her
         enters the room
     d) she looks down at her breasts
     e) she mentions her cleavage

[A:  C. Cleavage is allowed, except when someone might be attracted to the possessor of the cleavage. The best policy is to avoid the display of cleavage altogether, of course, but for older and/or sufficiently unattractive women, it is a reasonably permissible behavior.]

Q:  Assistant Professor Aranovic has a large penis, and he is a competitive swimmer. When he swims his laps at the pool, he wears a Speedo bathing suit, which does not entirely conceal the size of his "package."  What are the circumstances in which his decision to wear such a suit might be understood as permissible?  
     a) if the pool is not on American soil
     b) if no students, faculty, administration, or staff are present at the
     c) if he is terminally ill
     d) so long as he is not physically capable of an erection, he is within
         his rights
     e) none of the above

[A:  E. None of the above. Swimming outside of America in a place where no one from the workplace is present does not ensure that word—or even image—of Assistant Professor Aranovic's package will not make its way back to the workplace. Terminal illness, while it is likely to bring him a more lenient disciplinary action, does not change the nature of the harassment. Likewise, remaining flaccid is not relevant, as there are many for whom the thought of a flaccid penis is very appealing. The only way to ensure that the workplace is kept free of harassment is to ensure that its workers conceive of every public space as an extension of the workplace.]

Q:  As an "enforcer" of sexual harassment policy, you should:
     a) try to blend in
     b) act surprised when a harasser confesses to you that he or she has
         been fired
     c) never touch yourself
     d) only bend over if you are in your own office and you are alone and
         the door is locked

[A:  A, B, and D. While it is best to touch yourself as little as possible, it is permissible to touch yourself in some ways and in some situations. You should of course never intentionally touch your most intimate areas while you are in the workplace unless you are absolutely certain that everyone involved will die before leaving the immediate area.]

Q:  If you think that someone may have done something that constitutes sexual harassment, but you are not certain, you should:
     a) try to blend in
     b) make a report, noting that you are uncertain about whether the
         report actually has anything to do with sexual harassment
     c) talk to the person whose behavior, in your view, may have
         constituted sexual harassment
     d) make a report, making no mention of your uncertainty
     e) talk to the person(s) who may have been harassed by the
         behavior, asking them if they feel that they have been harassed

[A:  A and D. There is never any need to mention whether you are certain or uncertain that harassment has occurred; if it has not in fact occurred, that will be made clear in time, and you will be none the worse for having demonstrated your concern. It is, moreover, never a good idea to talk with the harasser(s) or the harassed, as this may unwittingly pull you into one or both of their positions. The best course of action is always to blend in and make confident confidential reports to those who are capable of ensuring the on-going decency of the workplace.]

Joe Wenderoth's third book of poetry, No Real Light, in now out from Wave Books.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200801onlinesh.htm

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