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Unraveling the Ivory Fabric: Institutional Obstacles to the Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints

  • Jennie Kihnley

Abstract

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 make universities liable for sexual harassment that occurs within both the employment and academic contexts. This article examines how universities implement and enforce the mandates of both Title VII and Title IX through exploratory research about sexual harassment complaint procedures at a public university system on the West Coast. In-depth interviews with personnel at each campus shed light on problems with inserting a complaint resolution process into an institution that simultaneously strives to eliminate sexual harassment, while wanting to protect itself from liability. This inherent conflict of goals is reflected in the differing roles of the Title IX office and the Women's Resource Center, in creation of a user friendly policy, and in the two branches of dispute resolution.

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Unraveling the Ivory Fabric: Institutional Obstacles to the Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints

  • Jennie Kihnley

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