Sexual harassment in the ivory tower

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Virginia Tech


This exploratory study was conducted to examine the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment on the college campus of Virginia Tech. The purpose was to identify the frequency of occurrence, the type of incidents, the seriousness of the harassment, and the awareness level of students concerning sexual harassment issues. To gain insight into sexual harassment, forty-seven college women from women's organizations were interviewed in five focus groups and asked about sexual harassment issues at Virginia Tech. Literature was used to develop the questions. The data were analyzed using categories formed based on students' responses to interview questions.

Findings from this study revealed the presence of sexual harassment on the campus of Virginia Tech, though most of the students had not directly experienced it. Of those with direct experience, the incidents closely paralleled reports in the literature. Though apparently not a wide-spread phenomena on the Virginia Tech campus, students expressed a need for more information, more access to resources for help, and greater campus awareness.

These findings may have utility for campus administrators who design information services and institutional response mechanisms to help students cope with this problem.



Women college students