UT leaders stress zero tolerance of bullying, harassment

February 23, 2011 | Features, UToday
By Jon Strunk

Even as some of the headlines fade, The University of Toledo is continuing to take a tough stance on bullying and harassment.

“It can happen anywhere and it can happen here,” said Student Government President Matt Rubin. “The media may quickly move on to new stories, but the effects of bullying linger for a long time. We want to make sure combating bullying stays top of mind.”

The word “bullying” is often thought to be a juvenile term for a juvenile act, said UT Police Chief Jeff Newton.

“Bullying at any age, though, is serious and can occur in any setting. No matter if this is happening between students or between employees, UT has a zero tolerance for bullying and harassment,” Newton said. “Depending on the facts surrounding a particular incident, these events can be criminal, and UT Police will not hesitate to take action.”

Other sanctions will include discipline, up to and including expulsion from the University, through the Student Conduct Office, he said.

Newton also pointed out that bullying is no longer just face to face. Bullying via electronic or social media also is serious, he said.

For now, students, faculty and staff can go to the Office of Institutional Diversity website at www.utoledo.edu/offices/oid/training.html to find a complaint form along with the University’s harassment policy, training and education.

“Please tell somebody,” said Michele Martinez, UT dean of students. “A new committee is working on policy and procedures specific to bullying and harassment with an aim to make reporting even easier.”

Martinez said UT soon will bring online a web page dedicated to preventing bullying, providing more information and education, highlighting resources like the Counseling Center, and creating an anonymous reporting tool.

“College is a challenging time all by itself,” Martinez said. “We need everyone’s help to create an atmosphere of inclusion and support for all in the UT community.”

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