Not Just Yale: The Wake-up Call Our Schools Need

April 05, 2011

Lisa Maatz, AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations on ABC’s Good Morning America

The media has turned to AAUW’s top public policy adviser, Lisa Maatz, for perspective into a sexual misconduct complaint at Yale University, a story that has dominated the news cycle in these first days of April. The allegations portray the Ivy League school as having a “hostile sexual environment.” The complaint filed by both men and women says the university violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by failing to respond promptly or effectively to incidents of harassment.

On a Good Morning America segment yesterday Maatz said, “Do these women feel safe? Do they feel like they can take advantage of the educational opportunities on their campus? Right now, according to the complainants, the answer is no.”

Maatz spoke with the Associated Press when the news first broke last week, saying, “There’s a real climate problem,” and that “it’s a good wake-up call for all schools.” That article has appeared in nearly 200 news sites, including the New York Times, MSNBC, the Today show, the Boston Globe, and Salon.com. AAUW has been the go-to source and continues to provide guidance and help.

As AAUW Director of Research Catherine Hill points out, sexual harassment is a problem that tends to go unreported. “Unfortunately, if you don’t hear anything from your students, that doesn’t mean that everything is fine.  Students we surveyed said they preferred online resources for this sensitive topic,” Hill said.

The AAUW website offers excellent tools for students, administrators, parents, or anyone interested in making campuses safer for women. Stay tuned, as AAUW will have more on the topic of sexual harassment in schools later this year. For now, check out our online resources:

By:   |   April 05, 2011

1 Comment

  1. Sexism has many homes, including among the elite, young, and clever. Fueled by a sense of entitlement by young men and administrators who glorify them, sexual harassment, assault, and sexual hostility run rampant at colleges across this country. Each year Equal Rights Advocates receives hundreds of calls on our hotline from young women who wonder if we care. The verdict remains out on reports of a hostile sexual environment at Yale University. But we hope that it places the spotlight on the crude, demeaning, and sometime dangerous “educational” environments to which we send our daughters, at a pretty penny no less.

    Nearly 40 years after the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination at
    schools, we hope Yale University and other schools start taking it seriously. If not, ERA is here to make sure they do.

    –Noreen Farrell, Yale alum and Managing Attorney, Equal Rights Advocates

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