Help with harassment

Judy Tompkins

Hurtful remarks or actions directed at students for simply being who they are can be taken at first as an act of ignorance. Occasionally, someone else’s problem with accepting diversity can become habitual harassment.

The student who faces discrimination because of his or her race, sexual orientation or gender does not have to tolerate this behavior.

The following are resources to help students cope with harassment and discrimination in residence halls, classrooms, campus employment or off-campus housing.

The Office of Affirmative Action, located in the Terrace Hall Annex, is a resource that enforces the university’s policy regarding equal opportunity regardless of the student’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or physical or mental disability.

Ann Penn, director of affirmative action, said she advises students how to cope with harassment and discrimination when another person’s actions or words become a aversive behavioral pattern. If the other offensive behavior continues, the office can help the student file a formal complaint against the offending party.

The Office of Affirmative Action will have a table with literature on the second floor of the Student Center during the first week of classes. For more information, call the office at (330) 672-2038.

Student Legal Services, located at McDowell Hall in room 118, is a resource available to all students who pay a $7 fee for legal services at the beginning of each semester. The service assists students in identifying and resolving legal problems. Some problems they handle are off-campus housing discrimination, security deposit problems, housing repairs and unfair evictions. The service does not accept cases involving the university or other Kent State students.

Its purpose is to assist those with a low income, said Carol Crimi, senior staff attorney for Student Legal Services. The fee for a 30-minute lawyer consultation in Portage County is about $150 and in Cleveland it can be as high as $250.

But before making an appointment with SLS, the student should document the date and time of everything that happened, what was said and what was done to help refresh his other memory if the complaint ends up in court. For further information call the SLS at (330) 672-9550.

Contact general assignment reporter Judy Tompkins at [email protected].