In connection to the #metoo campaign last autumn, there was a lot of focus on sexual harassment and assault in different social contexts and professional fields. For instance, 2,400 women took a stand against harassment and assault in the academic world through #akademiupproret.
This was one of the reasons why Linnaeus University, as one of only a few higher education institutions in Sweden, decided to launch a campaign to collect anonymous stories. The aim was to establish a qualitative picture of the occurrence of sexual harassment in our activities and a basis for the development of preventive measures. The stories were collected through a web form during early spring this year.
Zero tolerance will apply
We received a total of 21 stories, mainly from members of staff but also from a couple of students. The material has now been processed and analysed by a working group. The report shows that sexual harassment, assault and gender discrimination occur and that these experiences have left deep scars with members of staff and students.
"We will now discuss the results and the recommendations in order to improve routines, training and watchfulness. I would like to stress the fact that we all have a responsibility to make sure that unacceptable behaviour is not tolerated, diminished or normalised. The academic culture should be respectful to everyone", says vice-chancellor Peter Aronsson.
Focus on prevention
The working group presents a number of proposals to prevent discrimination and sexual harassment.
"Among other things, we suggest measures that will increase the knowledge on how you report and what support you can get. We are also proposing a training programme aimed at managers and safety representatives in order to increase knowledge on these issues, as well as measures that will help increase the knowledge among other members of staff and students", explains Cecilia Kjellgren, researcher in social work and member of the working group.
More information about the different measures will be presented this autumn. The report will be made public on June 19.
The Swedish Council for Higher Education maps out the work at higher education institutions
The government has commissioned the Swedish Council for Higher Education, UHR, to map out the higher education institutions' preventive work linked to sexual harassment and how they handle suspected cases. A report will be presented before the turn of the year.
Peter Aronsson, vice-chancellor at Linnaeus University, phone +4672-573 68 00, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cecilia Kjellgren, researcher in social work and member of the working group, phone +4672-701 83 42, email email@example.com
Annika Sand, senior press officer at Linnaeus University, phone +4676-830 01 05, email firstname.lastname@example.org