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Case of Interpersonal Dynamics

Category 1: Interpersonal Dynamics


Carma is an undergraduate at a small liberal arts college doing research for a female Professor Sims. Sims is a colleague of male Professor Xeno. Both Carma and Xeno are immigrants from the same country in Asia. When Carma was a student in Professor Xeno's class, she and other women in the class felt they were discriminated against and were given lower grades than the white American men in the course. When they filed a complaint, the department administrators found some evidence that this might be true, but felt it was insufficient for action. After the complaint was filed, Professor Xeno began to routinely come into the research area of Carma and Sims to order Carma to run errands for him, do department cleaning chores, or blame her for instrument failures in the department. During one of these events, Carma was reduced to tears. This was witnessed by a student peer of Carma's, Joshua a black male student from the Dominican Republic. A huge verbal conflict between Xeno and Joshua ensued including profanity and name-calling. Professor Xeno filed a racial intimidation complaint against Joshua with the department.

Stage 1

What action do you think WAS taken by the Supervisor?

A. Professor Xeno was asked to meet with the Chair to learn about expected protocols for treatment of students in the United States.

B. The department chair provided Xeno with a copy of the Academic Guidelines from ACS and Joshua was required to apologize to Xeno before the department would grant him a degree.

C. Professor Xeno was not offered tenure, and Carma and Joshua were given strong letters to attend graduate school.

D. Professor Xeno was given tenure with the provision that he modify his attitude.

Stage 2

What action do you think SHOULD have been taken by the Supervisor?

A. Make sure Joshua doesn't receive any references for graduate school or jobs.

B. Gather a history of complaints about Xeno and take them to EEO office.

C. Commend Joshua for trying to protect Carma from harassment.

D. Make sure Xeno is not retained in the department.

E. Demand that Xeno take a workplace ethics course.

F. Support Xeno's position, as he represents an important minority group.

G. Support both students and remove them from interactions with Xeno.

H. Try to sooth students and make them understand that this is just a "cultural thing.”