Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #3434
    Itibar Aydemir Uslu

    A sexual harassment policy is a must for any organisation. In most cases, people use social media channels to make their voices heard as there is no formal process. However, if there are no effective tools to protect individuals experiencing abuse/harassment, its public disclosure may threaten their safety. Another problem is that if the abuser has a higher authority or power in the society, the claim is thrown aside, or people choose not to believe it. The absence of material evidence of abuse further complicates the situation. In this case, the vast majority of people who experienced abuse are forced not to disclose and to forget about it. Beyond policy implementations, I think it is essential to be united and take “care” of each other. Sometimes, I think, it’s a bit overlooked.

    Karina Barantseva

    In all the Universities where I used to work – in Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland – there were Codes of Conduct (or analogues documents) and Ethic Committees, responsible for monitoring the implementation of the respective Codes, as well as conducting a preliminary investigation of cases of Code’s breaches reported by victims or third parties. These Codes are not devoted just to sexual harassment, but to different breaches of ethical norms and fundamental rights. If a preliminary investigation shows that the violation concerns not just ethical norms, but legislative norms, as, for example, criminal ones, the case study is escalated to law enforcement agencies and bodies. If the violations concern just the ethical norms – respective disciplinary sanctions are applied.
    But in post-soviet and post-socialist states in HEIs and research institutions (I’m not talking about other jobs and about family relationships) are not affected so much by sexual harassment issues. Maybe, it is an outcome of the ideology of emancipation and equal rights of men and women (which was distorted in the soviet states and made a woman overloaded with responsibilities and activities, but adjusted her to the state that she is to be strong having a weak man behind her), but it is sometimes necessary to speak about some forms of sexual harassment towards men, not women. And this situation makes men, including those at top management positions, to be especially obedient towards Codes’ of Conduct norms.

    Anna Gredzinska

    At the University of Warsaw where I work, we do have anti-sexual harassment policy in place. What has already been adopted is:
    – the Anti-Discrimination Procedure allowing for formal complaint proceedings: secure reporting and combating sexual harassment and discrimination both by the person who experienced discrimination, and by the management of the unit
    – the Guide on combating sexual harassment at the UW aiming to familiarize the UW community with the definition of sexual harassment and various examples of this unlawful phenomenon, to convey that these are discriminatory activities and to emphasize that all their forms are not allowed at the UW. The Guide also inform people who have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment about the possible action that can be taken emphasizing that consequences will be brought against perpetrators
    – Gender Equality Plan for the UW which is a horizontal and holistic documents foreseeing actions/measures, indicators and the timeline to compete/evaluate these actions. Some of the actions/measures concern fighting sexual harassment and GBV.

    Aside of the above mentioned, UW has established Rector’s Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination and Anti-mobbing Commission, the Student Rights Ombudsman, as well as a team of consultants on sexual violence at the University of Warsaw Student Government Board.

    UW has conducted numerous awareness raising actions concerning sexual harassment:
    Eg. Conferences, on-line events, un updated vision of leaflets about equality and antidiscrimination at the UW has been widely distributed.

    There are also courses and trainings concerning how to tackle the problem of sexual harassment:
    – the Equality Course is a general university subject that appeared at the University of Warsaw’s offer in 2019 (for students and staff)
    – training for disciplinary committee members
    – training for Student Government Board


    The university where I work does have a formal process for registering complaints of sexual harassment, which starts with going to the Ombudsperson for Diversity or the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Officer. After this initial report, the complaint will make its way through a process involving the school’s Ethics Committee, and the protocol has laid out stipulations for what to do if the complaint is against the Ombudsperson or someone on the Ethics Committee. These multiple options for reporting and stipulations for if the complaint is against a member of any of the relevant bodies should all be an important part of any sexual harassment policy I assume.

    However, I wonder if my university did an audit like what CEU did what it would find. I feel that some of the changes that CEU instituted (i.e. an online system for filing complaints, the ability to file an anonymous complaint, etc.) could help make the system more transparent for students and staff alike.


    The Spanish legal framework establishes that is mandatory to have an anti-sexual harassment policy in every public organization, such as a Protocol for the prevention of sexual harassment and guidelines of the complaints procedure. My institution belongs to a broader network of research centres at a national level, and even though our centre does not have a specific anti-sexual harassment policy, the central organization does. Therefore, the main centre has a Protocol for the prevention and action against sexual harassment, but it is necessary to deploy this institutional document in our research centre considering the context of our organization. In this sense, recently we have published the first Gender Equality Plan of the institution that foresees the following actions related to sexual harassment prevention and action:
    • An explicit institutional commitment of the Governing board to maintain a work environment free of sexual and gender-based harassment
    • The conduction of a staff survey on sexual harassment to establish a perception baseline on this issue
    • Raising awareness sessions of the implications of sexual and gender-based harassment for all staff
    • The deployment and dissemination of the Protocol and to promote the creation of prevention and support structures and channels, available and accessible for all staff
    • The nomination of the individuals responsible for this issue in the organisation and the provision of specific training on sexual and gender-based harassment


    In the London School of Economics and Political Science, there is The Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy. I knew that it exists before specifically looking for the document, as I knew that there is some formal way to fill in complaint (I vaguely remember some leaflets stating it; also in my Department there are always booklets with Code of Ethics available at the beginning of new academic year). I am also aware that there are specific roles connected to anti-discrimination at Students Union, including Women’s Officer and LGBT+ Officer.

    What I like about the policy is that it provides clear definitions for terms used, as well as clear procedures for staff (including non-academic staff, and non-paid staff like visiting scholars) and students to fill in official complaints. I also appreciate the fact, that there is ‘early resolution phase’ which is about ‘addressing straightforward concerns swiftly and locally rather than escalating them into formal complaints’.

    However, I find it worrisome that the complaint should be raised within 20 days (form the incident) and that ‘Unless there is good reason for not attempting an early resolution, we will not normally investigate issues as a formal complaint without the early resolution stage being followed’. I am not convinced that at this stage anyone should judge if the complaint is serious enough, and many victims may feel overwhelmed with a prospect of meeting with their offender, even in relatively simple cases.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • The forum ‘Course assignment: exchange on practices to fight sexual harassment’ is closed to new topics and replies.