Is Racial or Ethnic Harassment?
Respect for the rights, privileges, and sensibilities of each
other is essential in preserving the spirit of community at Princeton.
Actions which make the atmosphere intimidating, threatening,
or hostile to individuals are therefore regarded as serious offenses.
Abusive or harassing behavior, verbal or physical, which demeans,
intimidates, threatens, or injures another because of his or
her personal characteristics or beliefs is subject to University
disciplinary sanctions . . . . Examples of personal characteristics
or beliefs include but are not limited to sex, sexual orientation,
race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and disability. Making
tolerance of such behavior or submission to it a condition of
employment, evaluation, compensation, or advancement is an especially
serious offense. Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, p.4
Recognizing Incidents of Racial
or Ethnic Harassment
Here are some incidents that may constitute
racial or ethnic harassment and may result in disciplinary sanctions
under University policy. (In order to make an accurate judgment as
to whether these incidents constitute racial or ethnic harassment,
the full context in which these actions were taken or statements
made must be considered.)
- Several Asian-American students are called
names that are racially and ethnically vilifying as they cross
the campus. An adviser tells an African-American student not
to take a certain course because the adviser says that other African-American
students have had difficulty in the course and are therefore
not suited for this particular course.
- A University official requests that a group of Latino
students display their student ID's as they enter their dormitory,
while white students are not required to display their ID's.
The official cannot explain why the Latino students were stopped
and asked to display ID's.
- A student group discovers that swastikas have been
painted on the door of a room often used to prepare for the observance
of the Jewish Sabbath.
- A male student approaches an Asian Pacific-American
woman student on several occasions and makes statements implying
that certain sexual practices are common within her ethnic group.
- A supervisor assigns only menial tasks to an Hispanic
staff member and writes on an evaluation that the staff member
could not expect to be promoted because he is an "affirmative action" appointment.
- Several women students of color receive anonymous
phone calls in which the caller uses language that is both obscene
Racial and Ethnic Harassment Can Take on More Subtle Forms
Often racial or ethnic
harassment is not blatant or obvious. It can be very subtle. In fact,
sometimes it is so subtle that it may be only after a series of incidents
that a person may begin to feel that harassment is occurring. For
example, a member of a racial or ethnic minority may hear colleagues
using demeaning terms to refer to persons of his or her ethnic background.
In addition, the person is the only racial or ethnic minority in
this group and finds that he or she is consistently assigned the
least favorable assignments. The person begins to reflect on the
mentoring and additional training opportunities that have gone to
persons with fewer qualifications. Finally, the person is discouraged
from inquiring about opportunities for advancement because he or
she is told, "People like you often have difficulty in those
positions." These incidents, taken in isolation, may not constitute
racial or ethnic harassment. However, when this person views these
incidents as a series of on-going offenses, he or she may well conclude
that a pattern of racial or ethnic harassment exists. Of course,
a final determination of racial or ethnic harassment can only be
made when the full context of this situation is taken into account.