In Light of #MeToo Movement, Three Student Clubs Collaborate on Seminar

Seven student leaders who organized the seminar pose for a photo Image by Ed Brennen
Student leaders from the Management Society, Manning Women in Business and Beta Gamma Sigma hosted the seminar on sexual harassment and workplace conduct.

By Ed Brennen

To prepare for a career in human resources, senior business administration major Anastasia Clark has taken on multiple internships and co-op jobs with area businesses over the past four years. Working in HR departments has given Clark real-world experience with many facets of the industry – including one of its most serious and challenging sides.

“I’ve had people come to me reporting instances of sexual harassment at work,” Clark says. “And I’ve personally had to terminate people for it.”

Given that experience, as well as the increased awareness of the issue nationally with the #MeToo movement, Clark was particularly interested in the university’s recent seminar, Sexual Harassment and Workplace Conduct.

“We have more of a hyper-awareness of workplace harassment at the moment, so this was an important event,” says Clark, an Atlanta native whose concentrations are in management and marketing. “It’s useful information for students to have as they go into the workplace.”

Manning faculty Elisa Magnant and Brooke Hargreaves-Heald discuss sexual harassment Image by Ed Brennen
Assoc. Prof. of Management Brooke Hargreaves-Heald, right, and visiting instructor Elissa Magnant share their legal perspectives.

Three Manning School of Business student organizations – the Management Society, Manning Women in Business and Beta Gamma Sigma – hosted the seminar, which was open to the entire university and drew 80 students to the Saab ETIC atrium. It was part of the university’s efforts on multiple fronts to combat sexual violence and harassment.

The seminar was created and moderated by management lecturer Michael Beers. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which led to the swift downfall of several “titans of journalism and entertainment,” Beers decided to put together a seminar that addressed the issue of sexual harassment from an organizational behavior perspective.

“It’s important that we start talking about these things with students while they’re in college, rather than after they go into the workplace,” Beers says.

The seminar covered three areas: how to act in the workplace, how to react if you become the target of harassment, and how to help others as an active bystander.

Michael Beers moderates the panel discussion Image by Ed Brennen
Management lecturer Michael Beers moderates the seminar that he created in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Assoc. Prof. of Management Brooke Hargreaves-Heald and visiting instructor Elissa Magnant, who both hold law degrees, took part in a panel discussion on legal rights. Asst. Prof. of Management Karoline Evans led a discussion on bystander training.

“It was very empowering to hear the female professors’ perspectives on what they’ve seen in the workplace,” says junior business administration major Kelly Bradford, who serves as co-vice president of the Management Society along with Clark. “Harassment itself isn’t new, but learning these tactics and recognizing it is.”

Senior business administration major and Management Society President Keviana-Joy George was encouraged to see students raise their hands and discuss such a delicate subject.

“Some people are afraid to say anything, but we wanted students to have an opportunity to address the issue,” says George, who hopes to see the seminar become an annual event.

A student asks a question during the seminar Image by Ed Brennen
Students were able to ask questions about their legal rights and expectations as bystanders when it comes to sexual harassment.

Monserrat Flores, a junior business administration major and Management Society member, was happy to see so many male students in attendance.

“A lot of people think harassment is only happening to women, but it’s happening to men, too,” Flores says. “It’s nice to see that men are more aware that this is happening.”

One of those young men, sophomore business administration major Kevin Coluci, left the seminar feeling more attuned to the problem.

“I appreciated how they covered so many different aspects of where and when it can happen, and how you can get involved to stop it,” Coluci says.