Most reported cases of sexual misconduct on university campuses follow a common narrative: a male professor engages in sexual misconduct with female student. This scenario pits sexual violence advocates against institutions and engages the media. But what happens when the narrative changes?
It certainly seems that way. A recent annotated bibliography by the University of Calgary presents some pretty staggering data that suggests that academic dishonesty is “widespread amongst Canadian students and faculty.” The authors reviewed 68 studies on academic integrity performed in Canada up to and including 2017. The paper states that between half and 90% of students self-report academically dishonest behaviours.
An employee complained that she had been sexually harassed by her male supervisor. The employer conducted an internal investigation and concluded that the sexual encounter had been consensual, and therefore sexual harassment had not occurred. The complainant was fired for making a bad faith complaint. An arbitrator came to the opposite conclusion. He found that the complainant had, in fact, been subjected to sexual harassment and sexual assault. He reinstated her job and ordered compensation for lost wages and benefits.
Most workplace investigation decisions focus on the psychological harm to complainants suffered as a result of the alleged misconduct. We have written about this issue before – see our discussion of the importance of a trauma-informed approach for victims of sexual assault here.