In light of recent student media reports of harassment and catcalling directed at female students by construction workers on campus, Georgetown administrators have contacted the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company this week to denounce the practice and prevent its recurrence.
Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey sent a letter to the contractor Oct. 2, highlighting the contractual agreement and the policy statement on sexual misconduct. Morey also conducted direct conversations with contractors to highlight the issue.
“It is important for me to clearly and simply state our expectation that such behavior is unacceptable and will be treated with zero tolerance,” Morey wrote. “I trust that we can partner to proactively establish the desired environment on our job sites and reject a ‘boys will be boys’ culture.”
Students reported catcalls and harassment from construction workers on campus beginning in the summer and continuing into the school year. Morey noted that no specific action would be taken since the reports did not point to exact incidents of misconduct, but noted that the harassment violates the university’s contract with Whiting-Turner.
“The contractor shall enforce strict discipline and good order among the contractor’s employees and other persons carrying out the work,” the contract states. “Any contractor or subcontractor shall have courteous and respectful behavior with university faculty, staff and students.”
Morey also included the university’s policy statement on sexual misconduct in his letter.
University spokesperson Stacy Kerr said that the response to the letter from contractors was swift and decisive.
“Many of the contractors immediately responded to the letter, articulating the seriousness with which they also take this matter and the steps they are taking to address this with their employees,” Kerr wrote in an email to student media. “We were encouraged that some contractors have their own individual sexual harassment training programs that they are reinforcing our expectations with their employees.”