The Daily Illini

Professor hosts presentation on sexual harassment 

Attendees+of+the+microaggressions+presentation+discuss+scenarios+about+interactions+between+student+peers+and+between+faculty+and+students+at+the+Coordinated+Science+Laboratory+on+Monday.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Professor hosts presentation on sexual harassment 

Attendees of the microaggressions presentation discuss scenarios about interactions between student peers and between faculty and students at the Coordinated Science Laboratory on Monday.

Attendees of the microaggressions presentation discuss scenarios about interactions between student peers and between faculty and students at the Coordinated Science Laboratory on Monday.

Photo courtesy of Lizzie Roehrs / Coordinated Science Lab

Attendees of the microaggressions presentation discuss scenarios about interactions between student peers and between faculty and students at the Coordinated Science Laboratory on Monday.

Photo courtesy of Lizzie Roehrs / Coordinated Science Lab

Photo courtesy of Lizzie Roehrs / Coordinated Science Lab

Attendees of the microaggressions presentation discuss scenarios about interactions between student peers and between faculty and students at the Coordinated Science Laboratory on Monday.

By Eunice Alpasan, Staff writer

Assistant professor in Engineering Katie Driggs-Campbell addressed issues of sexual harassment and microaggressions during a presentation at the Coordinated Science Laboratory on Monday.

The presentation was a condensed version of an orientation program she helped develop at UC Berkeley for the prevention of sexual violence and sexual harassment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science among graduate students.

The program focuses on the tone that both faculty and students help set in fostering a more welcoming department culture.

“While most people don’t — thankfully — deal with sexual violence, every one of you will contribute to the culture,” Driggs-Campbell said during the presentation. “We really wanted to bring that to the forefront and start at the very beginning to talk about these issues and raise awareness there.”

The presentation consisted of hypothetical scenarios that people discussed in groups on whether they would be categorized under quid pro quo, hostile environment, microaggression or a non-problem. The scenarios included examples of interactions between student peers and between students and faculty members.

Most of those attending the event were faculty and graduate students. After a few minutes of small group discussions, the entire group then reconvened to share their thoughts.

“I was really impressed with the diversity of responses and how people interacted with the prompts,” Driggs-Campbell said after the presentation. “I think there were lots of good perspectives.”

The informational talk was introduced by CSL Director Klara Nahrstedt who invited Driggs-Campbell to share her presentation. Nahrstedt was inspired after having discussions last year with students about microaggressions and the atmosphere in CSL.

In creating the orientation program, Driggs-Campbell believed having group interactions would be more effective than sexual harassment online training programs.

“There are lots of these things where you’re staring at a computer screen and clicking through — you forget immediately,” Driggs-Campbell said. “I think there is something about the human interactions and hearing the different perspectives that really help things stick.”

Marie-Christine Brunet, Assistant Dean of Engineering, attended the presentation.

“I think it was a very good reminder of microaggressions in general,” Brunet said. “We don’t think about those things often, and I think it was a checkpoint for us to think about this in our everyday lives.”

[email protected]

Leave a Comment