Sex harassment, bullying battle at LA community colleges

Los Angeles Valley Community College. Photo courtesy of the college

As Hollywood and the nation have been riveted to stories of sex abuse by big name people in power, the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees is launching a drive against sex harassment and bullying to protect the district’s employees and students.

Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez has been given 60 days to prepare a report with a list of every complaint of sexual harassment or bullying involving employees and students in the last five years, including where each reported incident occurred, details of each report and disposition of each complaint.

“The information we receive will form the basis for our deliberations as we formulate new policies,” said trustee Andra Hoffman, who authored the motion at Wednesday’s meeting calling for the report.

Hoffman said she will “continue to press for policies that will guarantee those who are targets of harassment or bullying that they can report the incidents with the knowledge that there will be full investigations, there will be appropriate responses and there will be no fear of retaliation.”

Hoffman said the trustees committed themselves to have a special presentation by an expert in the field to talk about how to deal with bullying, harassment and violence in the workplace.

“I think the time is right for us to make sure every employee and student in this district is protected against harassment of any kind and against bullying,” Hoffman said.

“In recent months, I have been told of two situations that are of particular concern.

“One involved a charge of sexual harassment at one of our campuses and that the person making the charge was first offered a bribe to drop the charge and later was threatened if she didn’t drop the charge.

“The other involved what appears on the surface to be a false accusation of sexual harassment that may be intend to influence a hiring decision.

“I will deal with each of these specific issues separately and through other channels to make sure they are thoroughly investigated and properly dealt with.”

—City News Service