McNeil Center for Early American Studies
Statement of Values Regarding Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment
As part of its mission, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies is committed to fostering a democratic ethos in scholarship and cultivating close, respectful, and productive exchanges between serious scholars at every level of experience and recognition. Free speech and academic freedom must always be core values, but those values should not be invoked to protect discriminatory behavior. The Center recognizes that a truly democratic and respectful ethos embraces the inherent worth and dignity of every person, encourages all individuals to strive to reach their potentials, and fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect. As part of the University of Pennsylvania and in accordance with the University’s policies, the McNeil Center is committed to fostering a scholarly community free from discrimination based upon race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran.
Discrimination occurs when a person or group repeatedly uses remarks, behaviors, or practices to show intolerance against an individual’s race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran. For example:
• Repeatedly making jokes, insinuations, slurs, or humiliating comments based upon an individual’s identity.
• Criticizing or displaying intolerance in regards to an individual’s differences, including his or her accent, clothing, customs, and beliefs.
• Denying opportunities based upon an individual’s identity.
In upholding the highest intellectual standards of the academic profession and encouraging the broad diffusion of scholarly insights, the McNeil Center acknowledges that some ideas or words from the era and topics that we study are ethically problematic in the twenty-first century. We also recognize that such ideas and words may be used in contexts that serve legitimate scholarly purposes. Still, dedication to scholarly rigor is not a legitimate defense in the case of bona fide discrimination.
The Center also is committed to fostering a scholarly community free from sexual harassment, recognizing specifically the ways in which unwanted and unwelcomed sexual contact harms the lives and often the careers of those subjected to it. A victim of sexual harassment can be a person expressing any gender identity. The victim can be of the same sex as the harasser. Sexual harassment also injures the discipline: talented individuals become limited in fulfilling their potential as they avoid places and people in order to feel safe, limiting their contributions to our collective intellectual work and reinforcing ongoing inequities within the profession.
Unwelcomed actions such as the following, even though not unlawful in and of themselves, are unacceptable in McNeil Center settings, whether conveyed through spoken or written word, including e-mail, text messages, and social media:
• Verbal interactions of a sexual nature;
• Touching or grabbing of a sexual nature;
• Repeatedly standing too close to or brushing up against a person;
• Repeatedly asking a person to socialize when the person has said “no” or has indicated they are not interested;
• Jokes, teasing, insinuations, gestures, and humiliating comments or remarks of a sexual nature.
Discrimination and harassment offend the McNeil Center’s core values, which include a commitment to the open exchange of ideas, freedom of thought and expression, and equal opportunity and inclusion. By fostering dignity, understanding, mutual respect, and diversity, faculty, fellows, and seminar and conference participants contribute to a more democratic, respectful, and productive environment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person.