Harassment by Construction Reported

Student reports harassment by on-campus construction workers


A female student has spoken out, saying that construction workers sexually harassed her as she walked to Kessel Student Center.

Emily Wolfrum, Editor-in-Chief

Two construction teams on campus have repeated conduct training following a sexual harassment report filed in early September.

A Pace University female student, who requested to remain anonymous, reported two incidents of catcalling, winking, and staring near Paton House and while walking to Kessel Student Center.

“In my four years here, I’ve never had a problem, I really haven’t,” the student said. “So, I didn’t want to seem like that student who was causing problems. That’s why the first time, I let it go.”

She acknowledged that it was only after the second incident, and with the encouragement of a friend, that she decided to formally report the harassment.

“I was walking to Kessel, and they were just staring as I’m walking by, eyeing me up and down, and as I walked by, they smiled at me and one of them was raising his eyebrows at me,” she said. “I was just glad I wasn’t alone this time because I told my [friends] and they didn’t believe me.”

The incidents were reported to Rachel Carpenter, the Assistant Dean of Assessment and Planning and Director of Student Development and Campus Activities. Because the female student could not identify the individuals who had harassed her, she was asked to pinpoint the locations on campus in which the events occurred.

The student was also contacted by Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo, Dean of Students, who had her fill out an Affirmative Action form.

“We keep a listing of [the construction workers] names and the vehicles that they’re driving, and each one of them is given on-the-job training about the conduct on campus,” Executive Director of Safety and Security Vincent Beatty said. “We’ve tried to keep all of the construction workers on one side of the campus to cut down on the possibility of this. They’re told not to go in buildings, to use facilities, or the cafeteria.”

Although records are kept on the workers and their vehicles, construction teams arrive while security guards are not at the entrance booth, leaving no way of checking who is coming on and off campus, according to Beatty. Instead, all construction workers are to check in at the visitor’s trailer across from North Hall.

Article XIII of the standard Pace University Consultant/Vendor Agreement, mandates that each consulting company “and its subcontractors, employees, and agents shall comply with all Pace policies and procedures…and security policies.”

They are, therefore, to adhere to the Pace University Guiding Principles of Conduct, including Article XXII, which prohibits consultants/vendors and their inferiors from “conduct[ing] themselves in a manner that would be considered lewd or indecent by the University.”

The resulting consequences for those who are not in compliance with these principles is not clearly laid out within the document. However, both the female student and Head of Security, Beatty, acknowledged a “three-strike system” for handling any misconduct.

“If there are three incidences with any of the construction workers, they are removed from the job site permanently,” Beatty said. “It could be a safety violation–if they were told to wear safety equipment and they didn’t wear it, misconduct like this,…driving erratically on campus. It’s three strikes of anything.”

While Beatty said that the University would personally remove a repeat offender regardless of this rule, the female student felt this measurement to be imbalanced.

“What bothers me was, okay, I was only whistled at or gawked at, but had I been grabbed and pulled behind a pile of dirt, would that be a strike, or would that have been taken more seriously?” the student asked. “To me, harassment is harassment whether you’re getting grabbed or getting whistled at or getting spoken to improperly, harassment is harassment.”

Beatty stated that he was unsure if any background checks had been done on the construction workers by the company, but that he planned to look into the matter further.

A project representative from Kirchhoff-Consigli Construction Management could not be reached for comment.

“This is not something we take lightly,” Beatty said. “The minute we found out about it, it was addressed and handled rather quickly. This is not acceptable behavior.”

Although the student stated that she was mostly pleased with the way her case was handled, she admitted that it had affected how comfortable she felt on campus.

“I used to leave my car parked behind my building and walk everywhere, now I drive to my classes, so it has changed [how I feel],” the student said. “This is our home for the semester while we’re here, and I wouldn’t tolerate someone standing outside my front door and whistling at me and I don’t think we should tolerate that here either.”