[act-ma] FRI 11/16, NOON: ROOT OUT RAPE CULTURE AT HARVARD; DEFEND JOHANY PILAR!!

Geoff Carens geoff.carens at gmail.com
Thu Nov 15 13:20:00 PST 2012


Dear All,

In February and March, Johany Pilar, a long-serving Harvard employee who is
an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, was sexually harassed at work.
Johany has faced retribution from management ever since she reported
unwanted advances and aggressive grabbing on the job.

When she first complained of the harassment, management engaged in classic
victim-blaming, telling her she gives too many hugs and ordering her not to
hug anyone on the job. Johany was even directed to train her harasser,
which led to more unwanted, aggressive physical contact. In May a manager
insistently demanded she cancel a therapy appointment she had set up to
deal with the harassment, even though he knew what the appointment was for.
In June another administrator confronted her first thing in the morning and
threatened her with an unspecified "big, big problem." In September this
threat was carried out when Johany received an unfair disciplinary letter
warning her she could soon be terminated. In 15 years' service at Harvard,
Johany never received any discipline until she reported being harassed!

Eight student organizations and the Industrial Workers of the World
published an open letter <http://www.perspy.com/?p=1050> to Harvard's Labor
Relations Dept., decrying Johany's treatment. Johany movingly described how
the retaliation for standing up for her rights has affected her at a meeting
on rape culture<http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/10/12/mailroom-worker-reports-harassment/>attended
by campus feminists. Johany filed complaints  at the Massachusetts
Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). Scores of workers and students
picketed<http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/10/19/students-protest-for-pilar/>in
her defense, and two of her co-workers bravely spoke on her behalf at
the public action.

The only response to date has been management's announcement that Johany,
and the two colleagues who stood up for her in public, are now newly
considered "essential staff," meaning they are expected to report to work
even when the campus is closed for emergencies like the recent hurricane.
Harvard workers believe this is another effort to hit back at Johany,
isolate her and cut across solidarity from her co-workers.

You're invited to join Johany and her supporters at a rally and march,
beginning this Friday, 11/16, at 12 noon in Harvard Square. We will gather
at Harvard's Holyoke Center, 1350 Mass. Ave., next to Au Bon Pain and half
a block from the main entrance of the Harvard Square red line MBTA stop. A
map is here<http://www.bing.com/maps/#JnE9LjEzNTAlMmJtYXNzYWNodXNldHRzJTJiYXZlbnVlJTJiY2FtYnJpZGdlJTJibWElN2Vzc3QuMCU3ZXBnLjEmYmI9NjIuMzk0MDQxNTA1MjI0MiU3ZS0zMC4yMzIwNTU2NjQlN2UxMy4xNjIwOTE5MTQ5OTYyJTdlLTExMS45NzAzMzY5MTQ=>.
For the Facebook event, please click
here<http://www.facebook.com/events/426533047400088/>.
A flyer for the event is attached. Please help us root out rape culture at
Harvard University!

In Solidarity,

Geoff Carens, Union Rep, Harvard Union of Clerical & Technical
Workers/AFSCME Local 3650
Member, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
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