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Empower Your Team to Build a Culture of Respect

#MeTooHere's how one advancement team convenes before the holidays to set expectations and boundaries.

Advancement is built on relationships. Unfortunately, the nature of the work can sometimes put fundraisers and alumni relations professionals in situations where social and professional boundaries may be blurred.

That's why every year after Thanksgiving, Peter Hayashida sets aside time to talk with his staff about respect and sexual harassment. Hayashida, vice chancellor for university advancement at the University of California, Riverside, invites his entire 120-plus person team to a one-hour educational session on sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. Human resources colleagues discuss equal employment policies and Title IX regulations. Gift officers also share their experiences of being harassed by donors.

"It's an opportunity for me to talk about our values as a university, our values as an advancement organization, and my personal values of how people are to treat each other," he says.

The training focuses on asking for help from supervisors if a staffer or gift officer feels he or she is being harassed, whether it's an inappropriate comment or an unwelcome touch. Participants also learn to recognize signs that a colleague may be receiving unwanted attention from a prospect or donor. Possible solutions include assigning a new gift officer to a problematic prospect, sending gift officers out in pairs, or even rejecting a donation altogether.

"I don't want harassment to be part of the culture of my workplace," he says, "because I care about the people I work with and because I don't want people getting the message that this is tolerated."

After hearing several harassment horror stories from female colleagues, Hayashida instituted a similar program about 17 years ago at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he served as assistant vice chancellor for external affairs and executive director of the UCLA Foundation.

"This can't be a one-off conversation," he says. "We need to continue surfacing this as a routine part of how we build a professional culture so that practitioners don't have to guess where the boundaries are and understand how, where, and when to seek help."

In July, CASE announced the Zero Tolerance Pledge, written in consultation with members of CASE's commissions on alumni relations, philanthropy, and communications and marketing. By taking the pledge, CASE members are committing to zero tolerance of sexual harassment at their institution.

This article is from the November 2018 BriefCASE issue.

Member Profile: Juan Pablo Marra

Juan Pablo Marra

Juan Pablo Marra is the vice president for development and external affaris at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

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