Students on study abroad programs may find that other cultures and societies have a much different understanding of what might be considered sexual harassment than is typically the case in the United States. Likewise, there can be great variation in the binary and non-binary gender roles and also in their forms of social interaction. Part of the study abroad experience is to learn how another culture and society organizes everyday life. What might be perceived as sexual harassment in Kalamazoo might be regarded by some as being socially acceptable, albeit obnoxious and unsettling behavior.
While U.S. American laws do not extend beyond the borders of the United States, Kalamazoo College students studying abroad are bound by College policy regarding social behavior, sexual harassment, and the Honor System for their own actions. With regard to the actions of others, the Center for International Programs has worked to make our partners abroad aware of College policies regarding sexual harassment. We attempt to follow federal regulations regarding Title IX policies and reporting protocols. This means if a student feels that they have been the subject of sexual harassment during a study abroad program, the student should first report this to the Kalamazoo College program staff or to the proper University official, typically to the Dean of Students or the International Office. The student may also choose to report to a CIP staff member or to the Kalamazoo College Title IX office. Once receiving the report, either from the student or resident director (or other staff member), CIP staff are required to report to the Title IX officer at Kalamazoo College. The host university may also investigate the complaint according to their procedures. Students making a report of sexual harassment may be asked to provide details concerning the incident and the perpetrator(s). We will try to maintain confidentiality throughout the process and honor the reporting student’s request for follow up. If the harassment charge is against a Kalamazoo College student, we will make every effort to follow the procedures used on campus with adjustments for the distance, the rules, and the mores of the partner institution. To ensure the safety and well-being of others, Kalamazoo College reserves the right to suspend or terminate the accused student’s participation in the study abroad program.
The College is obligated to respond when a student on study abroad or a member of that student’s family reports to a Kalamazoo College staff member that the student has been the target of sexual harassment.
A typical response by the College would include a discussion with the student as to what happened, followed by a discussion with appropriate officials at the host institution abroad about possible courses of action. Although every effort would be made to handle these matters confidentially, Kalamazoo College has no control over how the host institution abroad may choose to handle the report of an incident of sexual harassment. Furthermore, the College’s concern for the students’ health, safety, and well-being while abroad may require that all details relating to the incident be communicated to the Kalamazoo program staff and/or the partner institution abroad.