One Group’s Response to Sexual Harassment: A Zero-Tolerance Pledge

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has asked its members to support a zero-tolerance pledge to create a welcoming environment that ensures workers’ safety against harassment.

A council representing fundraisers for colleges and universities is drawing a line in the sand on sexual harassment issues in its field.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) called on its members to commit to a “zero-tolerance pledge” that emphasizes that harassment will not be accepted and that staff members can feel safe and report issues if they do occur.

“As leaders in institutional advancement, it is our responsibility to ensure safe and productive working environments for everyone, and to know and understand our institutional policies and resources in order to respond promptly and appropriately to any reports of harassment,” the pledge states [PDF].

In comments at the nonprofit’s annual leadership conference in New York, CASE President Sue Cunningham made clear that the broader cultural climate emphasized the need for such action.

“The whole #MeToo campaign has gained increasing prominence and volume in all of our lives in the recent months,” Cunningham said, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “And, as we know, the world of educational advancement, fundraising, marketing, communications, alumni engagement is not outside of this broader environment.”

The move comes in the wake of recent statistics that found sexual harassment prevalent in the fundraising space. A Chronicle study from last spring found 1-in-4 female fundraisers had faced harassment on the job.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals drew attention to the issue in January, proclaiming the problem widespread and promising broad changes in response.

“Like most other sectors, the charitable sector is not an outlier on this issue,” AFP said in the statement. “We are symptomatic of it.”

(Michail_Petrov/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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