Sexual harassment and offenses among Al Akhawayn University students

Hyung Joon Yoon, Sarah Postich, Aure Veyssiere
The purpose of this project was to understand the student body's experiences and perceptions regarding sexual harassment and sexual offenses in the Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI) community. To achieve the purpose, we collected data from students, faculty and staff, and administrators using surveys and one-on-one interviews. As a result, 352 students participated in the survey, representing 19.56% of the student body at AUI. For the interviews, 17 individuals participated. The
more » ... s were comprised of eight students, five administrators who directly or indirectly address sexual harassment cases, and four staff/faculty members. From the surveys, we found that 31.81% of the participants experienced sexual offenses and 52.96% of the participants experienced sexual harassment. These are alarming numbers, and this report includes details about the participants, gender ratios for sexual offenses and harassment, types of experiences, places where sexual offenses/harassment have occurred, students' potential actions, reporting preferences, and the awareness of AUI policy concerning sexual harassment/offenses. The interview results revealed more in-depth information about sexual harassment/offense cases, impact of such cases on professional and personal levels, level of trust toward AUI administration, actions that need to be taken for prevention, and suggestions to the University, No Violence Alliance (NoVA), and the AUI student body. Some of critical suggestions to address this critical issue include organizing awareness campaigns, providing support for victims, strengthening the policy regarding sexual harassment and offenses, offering mandatory training to the AUI community, establishing trust toward AUI administration, encouraging students to talk openly about this issue, and making the Student Government Association (SGA) to take an active role in bridging between AUI students and administration. was to be conducted by a trained student. However, if a student wanted to be interviewed by a member of the NoVA, that was an option as well. A total of 352 surveys were collected and comprise the sample of AUI students. Each member in the HRD class had a goal of distributing at least 20 surveys for students, aiming at collecting 360 cases. Class members explained to the participants that they could do the questionnaires only if they felt comfortable doing so and were present for neutral assistance if needed. Each member coded the surveys she or he gathered according to the set of standards codes agreed on as a class. However, open-ended questions were left alone and coded by a team responsible for analyzing that specific data. Interviews were targeted to be collected from students, staff/faculty, administrators, and security agents. The student group was further divided into four categories: Female International students, Moroccan Female students, International Male students and Moroccan Male students. The HRD class decided to include faculty/staff members because there were previous cases of sexual harassment between professors and students. Furthermore, interviewing the administration was important because they involve in resolving cases related to sexual harassment and/or sexual offences on campus. The class decided that the Security Department has different objectives and interests than the rest of the staff members or administrators, and therefore should be a distinct group. In addition, as security agents are the frontline people whose mission is to ensure the safe AUI community by directly making contacts with members of AUI community, it was necessary for the class to understand their point of view and level of understanding about the sexual offenses and harassment issues. The class collected data from 17 individuals, consisting of 8 students, 4 staff/faculty, and 5 administrators. Obtaining data from security agents was not possible. When HRD class members asked to meet and interview them, they encountered hesitation from the Security Department. HRD students had to write an e-mail to explain why they were carrying out this project, obtain the written approval of their professor (Dr. Yoon) and the Dean of the School of Humanities. Then, a staff member of the Security Department insisted on looking at the interview questions first, and a couple of days later, the staff member informed the HRD students that "it would not be possible for you to interview the security agents, but that you could interview me instead," and that "I would tell you all what you needed to know." According to the HRD class, the staff member refused to be recorded, even after signing a confidentiality form, thus the transcription of the interview wasn't as accurate as the other interviews.
doi:10.26207/fvrq-yz22 fatcat:lybe2jgnorbazhctl32leknvpi