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The Open School of Ethnography & Anthropology (osea)

OSEA Statement and Policy on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment


OSEA is committed to the eradication of discrimination based on race, racial identification, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, sexuality, religion, class, ethnicity, age, national origin, language, educational background or upbringing, physical or health abilities, regional origin, and culture.  The motivation, mission and values of OSEA are premised on the basic human rights of respect, tolerance, understanding, acceptance, and equality of difference between persons and peoples. In this spirit, OSEA has developed educational services and activities, including research, training and exchange programs, to contribute to the elimination of discrimination and harassment.

In consideration of these values and its mission, OSEA is an organization that understands sexual harassment to be a pernicious and pervasive form of discrimination that requires special consideration and attention in order to be identified and eliminated.  Sexual Harassment is against the law in the United States and in México and is a form of discrimination that is based on and targets gender, sexual orientation, sexual identification, and sexuality.

Towards these objectives, the OSEA Policy on Sexual Harassment provides guidelines regarding: its identification and the communication of its real, or potential occurrence, by victims, OSEA staff, participants, associates or other non-OSEA observers from the community; criteria for understanding different contexts in which it can manifest and how these can affect the meaning of interactions; procedures for registering, filing, adjudicating, addressing, and successfully resolving complaints.

OSEA is committed to updating and improving policy to maintain compliance with legal requirements in the workplace defined by EEOC. As well OSEA seeks to maintain policy, procedures and practices involving sexual harassment in educational contexts that maintains the spirit and meaning of accepted norms and expectations that derive from Title IX even though OSEA is not a federally funded educational institution. In compliance with the EEOC Guidelines and our policy, OSEA prohibits harassment of any kind. If the result of an investigation indicates that corrective action is called for, such action may include disciplinary measures, including immediate termination of the employment of the offender.


Sexual Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person (participant, employee, or applicant) because of that person’s sex, gender, sexuality, or orientation. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex, sexuality, sexual orientation or gender. Both victim and the harasser can be of any sex, gender, sexuality, or orientation. Both victim and the harasser may have US, Mexican or other national citizenship. Both, or at least one of, the victim or the harasser can be an employer, employee, participant, or community member. Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive environment for education or work or when it results in adverse employment decision.


Download the American Anthropology Association (AAA) Sexual Harassment Policy (2018)
⇒ ⇒ AAA Sexual Harassment Policy
⇒ ⇒ Visit the AAA website at www.americananthro.org


Discrimination and Harassment, or more grievous offences can occur:

➾ Between persons of same or different sex, gender, sexualities, and orientations;
➾ Between persons of same or different nationalities, race, religion, physical or health abilities, class, language, educational background, regional origin or upbringing;
➾ Between employer and a member of the (teaching, research or administrative) staff;
➾ Between employer and a program participant (including interns, work study participants, research associates, and visiting lecturers);
➾ Between staff members and other employees, whether the staff persons are in hierarchical, “equal” or parallel positions and statuses of employment;  
➾ Between program participants;
➾ Between staff and program participants;  
➾ Between staff and members of the community where OSEA educational activities occur, including members of a homestay family;
➾ Between program participants and members of the community where OSEA educational activities occur;
➾ Between persons employed by or participants in OSEA who are US citizens in México;
➾ Between US citizens and Mexican nationals, either of whom may be associated with OSEA as a participant or staff;
➾ Between US citizens and other foreign nationals, either of whom may be associated with OSEA as a participant or staff;
➾ Between Mexican nationals and other, non-US foreign nationals in Mexico, either of whom may be associated with OSEA as a participant or staff.



Once an incident is reported to the OSEA Staff, the Director initiates an inquiry of the facts with the assistance of staff, community members, homestay families and OSEA participants who may be involved, witness to or knowledeable of events. The Director may also enlist other persons to assist in the process of interviewing and disclosure of facts; the inquiry is conducted to ensure, within the limits of the nature of the case, the anonymity and protection of the aggrieved. The Director may appoint an OSEA ombudsperson who may receive reports by aggrieved persons or witnesses to harassment and facilitate the inquiry and collection of statements.

Persons who are targets or witnesses of harassment of any type may wish to discuss and consult about any such situation with a third party before reporting directly to OSEA Staff or at any subsequent time. Such third parties may include professional resources, such as pyschological counseling or anonymous hotlines, at the participants's home university as well as the designated OSEA Advisor. Although the OSEA Advisor is not capacitated to provide professional services, they can assist the aggrieved persons or witnesses to find appropriate venues for counseling and types of remediation, including processes both within and external to OSEA. These persons must maintain the privacy of all persons and situations to the fullest extent possible according the expressed requests of those persons seeking discretion.

OSEA strongly advises that all incidents of witnessed or experienced harassment be reported directly and immediately to OSEA staff. If and when a report of any incident is made to the OSEA Staff, OSEA primary and fundamental obligation and responsibilty is to ensure the safety, protection and well-being of those who have been targets or have been grieved.

Incidents must be reported to appropriate OSEA Staff in order to initiate an inquiry and to make a determination of the nature and gravity of the situation. In cases of physical assault, threatening harassment, and recurrent aggressive harassment, the aggrieved is advised on processes for reporting to and filing charges with appropriate levels of Mexican governmental authorities. These may include cases of violence, reoccurrent and threatening harassment, and assault that involve one or more US citizens and one or more Mexican citizens or one or more foreign national (non-US, Non-Mexican) as perpetuator or victim. Cases involving Mexican authorities should also be reported the US Consulate in Merida, Yucatán, México, by the aggrieved. OSEA Director and Staff provides full support and assistance for reporting incidents with Mexican authorities and US consular services.



OSEA Policy and Reporting of Sexual Harassment

Download pdf of OSEA Policy on Sexual Harassment and Procedures for Reporting


OSEA Policy of Nondiscrimination

OSEA actively promotes racial, sexual, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, national, ethnic, class, cultural, and religious nondiscrimination. OSEA does not discriminate against applicants and students on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual identity or orientation, class belonging, national or ethnic origin.

OSEA admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, sexual identity and orientation, class belonging, cultural identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin and grants such persons all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities that are accorded and available to any other student participant.

OSEA prohibits discrimination on the basis of these identities in administering its educational policies, admission policies, and all school-administered programs. OSEA pledges to continue its commitment to the achievement of equal opportunity within every one of its educational, cultural exchange, research, and outreach programs and activities.



Harassment in contexts of Anthropological Research and Ethnography Field Schools

Harassment in Field Schools are particularly complicated and requires special attention and procedures due to multiple factors, such as cross-cultural misunderstandings, misleading expectations, and simultaneous overlaying of personal and professional roles in multiple field school contexts of learning, research, fieldwork, and study.


Relevant resources are:

“What Happens in the Field?” Preliminary Results of the SEAC Sexual Harassment Survey of Archaeology Field Schools



Additional Resources
Information on Mexican Law regarding sexual harassment in workplace
Mexican laws against sexual harassment
Laws of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
US legal definition of sexual harassment regarding employment
News Article reporting on law professors criticism of Harvard’s sexual harassment policy indicating complexities of issues at stake
Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct
American Association of University Professors, Sexual Harassment Issues
AAA Sexual Harassment Policy (2018)


Mediation, Arbitration, and Filing a Formal Complaint with the EEOC






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