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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Opinion: Tell Someone

Illustration by: Michele Lee |
Illustration by: Michele Lee | [email protected]

Throughout my first year of college I had to find the balance between going to school full time studying journalism while maintaining a part-time job on the side.

I began going to tutoring in the Learning Resource Center almost every day. What I liked the most about the experience was that it was in a group setting with other students who struggled with math, too.

One Saturday before I went to work, I went to the LRC. The tutor who usually helped me was there, as well as two other tutors I’d never met before. That day I was the only student there, which was great because I could get my questions answered and go to work. Right before I was about to leave, one of the tutors told the tutor, who I was working with, not to flirt with me. I was unaware that he even was.

“That’s inappropriate,” I thought, feeling uncomfortable.

The tutor in question started to say that he wasn’t flirting, that he was “not into me,” but then asked me if I was into him. He said to the first tutor, “Look, I’ll even ask her if she’d go on a date with me,” and I politely responded that I wouldn’t.

I just wanted to crawl out of my skin because I was so uncomfortable. Once I left the LRC that day, I just wanted to go to my car and get to work.

I went back to the LRC the following Tuesday. I planned to ask for help on a few homework problems, ask a few questions, and then leave. While the tutor with questionable behavior was helping me with a problem, he said, “Just look down.”

I couldn’t figure out why he was saying that, but I looked down, and that’s when I felt his hand on my eyelid.

“Whoa! What are you doing?” I spat, caught off guard because my personal space was being invaded. The tutor said that the mascara on my eyelid was bothering him. I said that he shouldn’t worry about the mascara on my eyelid.

Stunned, I walked out of the LRC.

It had started with an uncomfortable comment, and only three days later a tutor touched me in a highly personal way. If I continued to seek tutoring from this person, would it have escalated even more? I was not about to find out.

After I left the LRC, the first person I saw was my best friend, and she knew something was a little off by the expression on my face.
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I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted it to go away. But I told my friend because I knew I had to say something, and eventually told a professor and my mentor as well.

All of them told me to report the incident, which I did. I wasn’t the only female student in the group tutoring. I certainly did not want this to happen to anyone else.

A week later I reported the incident to the LRC dean’s office. The secretary at the front desk told me what would follow after I handed in the report: I would meet with the dean, and then the dean would meet with the tutor.

After I spoke with the dean, I felt much better. The dean encouraged me to come back if I needed a tutor again, and they would find someone to help me. I left the office that day with hopes that they would take some sort of action to prevent this from happening again.

The following week, I walked past the LRC to see that the same tutor was continuing to work with students.

Recently, I spoke with Julia Jolly, the City College equity officer. She oversees and handles all harassment reports for the college. According to Jolly, when sexual harassment occurs, a student can report it to the Los Rios Police near the first floor of the parking structure, to the equity office located on the second floor of Rodda Hall North 257, or to a professor who should report it to a division dean, who would then report it to Jolly.

Once a student files a report, an investigation is conducted, Jolly said.

When I told Jolly what happened to me, she said that that an investigation should have been conducted, and if the investigation confirmed that sexual harassment had occurred, the student would have been let go. She said a tutor should not intrude on a student’s personal space like that.

It seems that the report I filed never got to Jolly, which is disappointing. “This incident was not brought to my attention,” said Jolly.

I reported the harassment, not only for myself, but also for other students. I do not want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. It’s an uncomfortable situation to be in, but the best thing to do is report any act of harassment. Situations like this should never go unnoticed.

I don’t know what eventually happened to the tutor. I honestly wish I did.

Editor’s Note: Due to the reporting of this incident, City College now provides sexual harassment training for student tutors. The LRC dean who met with the reporter is no longer with City College.

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