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Combating Harassment in Higher Education: Policy Innovations

  1. Combating Harassment in Higher Education: Policy Innovations ANA BELÉN AMIL G E N D E R E Q U A L I T Y O F F I C E R C E N T R A L E U R O P E A N U N I V E R S I T Y , V I E N N A U N I G E M C O N F E R E N C E 6 A N D 7 M A Y 2 0 2 2 S A R A J E V O
  2. • Central European University joins the EU-funded SUPERA project (2018-2022) • Design and implementation of our first Gender Equality Plan • First phase: institutional assessment of Gender Equality across 4 key action areas: 1. Recruitment, selection and career progression 2. Leadership and decision-making 3. Integration of a gender dimension in research and education content 4. Cross cutting area: gender biases and stereotypes BACKGROUND
  3. THE ASSESSMENT TEXT ANALYSIS OF CEU POLICY ON HARASSMENT (2013) • More than 500 respondents from the student, academic and administrative body COMMUNITY-WIDE SURVEY
  4. THE ASSESSMENT Less than 3% of incidents reported Underreporting problem Lack of institutional trust; fear of retaliation; lack of confidentiality; personal relationships Reports nowhere to be found Impossibility of monitoring Lack of record keeping Lack of accountabilit y and room for discretion No training for people who take complaints Insufficient training No training for the wider community Too many people mandated to take complaints Too adversarial procedure of conflict resolution Informal complaints: Provost Formal complaints: DC Areas for improvement in Policy text Broad definition of harassment Broad scope and target groups Broad time limits for reporting Policy strengths
  5. • Gender Equality Officer (GENS) • Chair of the Equal Opportunity Committee (SPP) • Two members of the EOC (LEGS/SPP) • Member of the Senate (PHIL) • New Chair of the Disciplinary Committee (LEGS/SPP) • Dean of Students • Two PhD students (HIST) WORKING GROUP: THE SET UP
  6. THE IDEAS Ombudspersons Network (ON) Highly specialized training Receive (1) and resolve (2) informal complaints Guide the complainant throughout the process 5 members of the community APP for Smartphones Centralized recording system: complaints and outcomes Anonymous disclosures, informal and formal complaints Online, 24/7, safe platform to submit complaints
  7. THE IDEAS (II) Anonymous disclosures “Complaint collectives” Notification to ON after 3+ complaints No disciplinary sanction Detect patterns of behavior
  8. OTHER (RELEVANT) ADDITIONS • The intentions of the alleged harasser are not determinative • Harassment does not need to be intentional to be considered harassment • The fact that such behaviour may not have been unwelcome to others or had been accepted in the past is irrelevant. • The Complainant does not need to have explicitly stated that the behaviour was unwanted • Being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or otherwise intoxicated is not an excuse Intentions • Much more detailed • Against an OP: serious breach Retaliation • Organizations recognized by CEU as being representative of a community, such as the Trade Union, Student Union or Work Councils can bring an informal or formal complaint in representation of a group of individuals (…) Organizations as complainants Shorter times for complaint resolution, clearer allocation of responsibilities
  9. POLICY DESIGN AND APPROVAL PROCESS 1 Consultation with IT First draft with principles of new Policy finalized SLT, Academic Forum: many iterations 2 Meeting with Legal Counsel (GDPR and other matters) Amendment of the Policy (working group) Policy checked by Austrian legal firm for compatibility 3 Final version ready GDPR delays Senate approval pending GDPR revision of the App
  10. • Potential lawsuits coming from the alleged harasser as a result of the action of the ON • Financial / time investment (for the APP) • Security of the server • “Witch-hunt”, false accusations, explosion of irrelevant complaints MAIN INSTITUTIONAL RESISTANCES
  11. POLICY IMPLEMENTATION Finding tailored training • Assessing severity & need for transfer • Confidentiality • Assessing risk of retaliation • Avoid re-traumatisation • Record keeping & reporting • Basics of mediation • National criminal law Financing the training Selecting and appointing members • GEO + EOC • Senate IT technical challenges • Access and editing rights • User-friendliness • Notifications GDPR data flow • Minimalistic approach • Privacy notice Retention times of data • For how long? • In which level of detail? • Who can access? • For what purpose? Ombudspersons Network (ON) SpeakApp development
  12. READY TO LAUNCH, BUT … Change in leadership Worries of DC work overload Ad-Hoc Committee to Review Disciplinary Procedures SpeakApp on hold
  13. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR ATTENTION Questions welcome “This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 787829”.

Editor's Notes

  1. Regular meetings
  2. APP (inspired by Callisto)
  3. Severity. Criminal cases + a) acts of violence, stalking, unwelcome physical touch, physical, verbal, or written threats; b) offensive or inappropriate comments or body language, including insults, mocking, jokes or gestures, malicious rumours or open hostility; c) blocking or impeding an individual’s normal movement, physical attacks, assault or battery;