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Volume 1, Number 2, Mar/April 2000

Mock Mediation Roleplay #2 (continued)

Tool Box

Sexual Harassment? (A Student/Faculty Dispute)

Ken Brown (student)

You are a junior vocal performance major at Naperville University. You are there on a music scholarship that pays three quarters of your tuition; it is because of this scholarship that you are able to afford and stay enrolled at NU. Your grade point average must stay at a cumulative 3.0 average in order to renew your scholarship for your senior, and final, year. The school is very strict about scholarship renewal policies. You also know that a 3.0 cumulative average depends directly upon a successful 4.0 performance in all of your classes this semester.

You are receiving "A's" in all of your classes, except for Advanced Music Theory, in which you are currently receiving a "C." Dr. Mary Smith is the instructor of this class, and she is also your academic advisor. She has been giving you private lessons and spending a lot of extra time with you as compared with other students. You know that she has put in far more personal time towards helping you than is expected of her. You have been feeling very confused about her personal interest in you and very uncomfortable with the recent interactions you've had with her.

While you've felt that you and she have a more open and personable relationship than most students/teachers have, lately you think it's gone too far. She has had far too much physical contact with you than you feel is normal and comfortable. Frequent touching of you has occurred in most of your recent private lessons. She has also commented repeatedly about how you're sure to succeed in the vocal performance industry because of your good looks. You are disturbed by these advances and comments because you feel she doesn't take your hard work seriously, and that she thinks your success is related to your physical appearance and not your talent.

Finally, last week during a private lesson she asked you to retrieve some aspirin from the top drawer of her desk. You complied, but became very uncomfortable when you had to dig around past an opened box of condoms to find it. You feel like she intentionally wanted you to look in that drawer. The final straw was last week when she asked you out for a drink after your private lesson which finished around 10 p.m. You definitely felt that she implied that if you dated her, your grade would improve to an "A." Now you feel it's gone too far, and you filed a sexual harassment report with the school. They recommended mediation, and you agreed because you are embarrassed about the incidents and want to keep the matter private. You also have to continue working with Dr. Smith through your senior year because she is the music department chair.

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