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UOG Faculty Senate meeting discusses sexual harassment

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University of Guam professor Dr. Ron McNinch has been outspoken on his position on sexual harassment and sexual relationships at UOG. He thinks there should be a no-tolerance policy on the issue. Today he planned to ask the Faculty Senate to remove Professor Mike Elhert - the professor accused and served adverse action for making unwanted sexual advances toward his students.

Dr. McNinch said, "If a person is on a faculty senate or on a subcommittee kind of role at the university, a faculty leadership role, and they're disciplined or have adverse action, particularly for the kinds of things that they received the discipline for, they shouldn't be serving in that role. And they should be removed."

However before McNinch could raise this point to the Senate, he was effectively silenced - told that although he submitted supporting documentation for his proposal via e-mail, he needed to submit paper documentation as well. Because McNinch was prevented from raising the issue, it was not discussed during the meeting.

Yet despite the lack of discussion at today's meeting, it seems the issue of sexual harassment has gained the attention of university leadership. Senior vice president Dr. Anita Enriquez said, "The president in conversation with our board chair is going to be proposing, the letter is forthcoming, the formation of a committee to review and propose changes to sexual harassment and consensual sex policies that already exist at the University of Guam."

The task force will comprise of individuals including employment law experts, and university personnel. "The hope is that the recommendations will come forward in time for consideration at the next regular board of regents meeting," confirmed Enriquez, "and I believe that is sometime in November."

Enriquez noted that only 65 of the over 600 University of Guam employees had completed the sexual harassment training sent out by the administration, and major improvement is still needed.

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