Within the framework of LiU’s Equal Opportunities initiative, the university has for many years worked to ensure that all staff and students are treated equally, and to counter all forms of discrimination and harassment.
“Ideally we work proactively, rather than reacting after the fact,” says LiU’s HR director, Pia Rundgren. “We achieve this through action plans, both university-wide and at the departmental level, for instance with training programmes and workshops aimed at spreading the university’s standpoint on these matters.”
Sexual harassment takes place throughout society; the academic world is part of society and as such is not immune to this.
“What we need to be especially conscious of is the power relationship that can exist around examiners and supervisors. This is why it’s so important to actively spread our values throughout the organisation,” says Pia Rundgren.
Report as soon as possible
If you experience harassment, it’s important that you report it as soon as possible. Students can report harassment to a teacher, course coordinator, Equal Opportunities coordinator; and staff can report it to their immediate manager, Equal Opportunities representative, or someone else who they trust.
“It’s important to report any harassment you experience. We want to know, so that the victim can receive support and we can act quickly. Exactly how depends on the case, and if we see patterns we can take more extensive action. We never have, and never will accept any form of harassment,” says Pia Rundgren.
Pia Rundgren believes that the #metoo campaign might help keep this matter on the agenda, both in society as a whole and at Linköping University. A seminar on sexual harassment in academia, to be held on 11 December, has been planned for some time, and web-based material on the issue is under development.
“We will maintain an open dialogue, and will discuss these issues in the structures we already have,” says Pia Rundgren.