Equal treatment of all people is an expression of democracy and equality. Discrimination, harassment and offence are violations of human rights and are not accepted in any form at the University of Skövde (University).
Vision for the University of Skövde
The work is based on democratic values and human rights. By using the talent, experience and resources of all people, we can lay the ground for a good atmosphere for work, studies and research.
All areas at the University must be aware of, and implement, the view that similarities and diversity are an asset, and that a person's right to be different constitutes the basis for equal rights. The aim is to create an atmosphere where diversity is encouraged and enriches the entire organisation.
We have a "zero vision" regarding discrimination and harassment.
Tolerance and respect
Basic to the work for equal opportunities and diversity at the University of Skövde is that all employees and students shall be treated with tolerance and respect. The work is based on democratic values and human rights.
Whose is the responsibility?
The Vice-Chancellor has overall responsibility to counteract harassment at the University of Skövde. The Heads of the Schools have direct responsibility for handling cases of harassment and investigating the cause, and also for ensuring a working environment that counteracts the occurrence of harassment.
As a student or University applicant you are protected under the Discrimination Act. The purpose of the law is to prevent discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion or other beliefs, sexual orientation and functional disability.
The work for equal rights has its basis in The Discrimination Act (2008:567). The basis for the work for equal rights at the University of Skövde (University) is to promote equal rights and opportunity for all employees and students, regardless of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnic origin, religion or belief, impairment, sexual orientation, or age. The Act states that any organisation must actively take measures to prevent discrimination and promote equal rights, by
- examining if there are any risks for discrimination or reprisals, or if there are other obstacles to a person's equal rights and opportunities in the organisation,
- analyse causes for risks and obstacles that have been identified,
- take preventative actions and promote measures that can reasonably be required, and
- follow up and evaluate the work in items 1 - 3 in the Guidelines of Equal Rights.
Furthermore, The Discrimination Act outlines what the active measures an education provider must take, such as
- student acceptance and recruiting procedures,
- teaching methods and organisation of the education,
- exams and evaluations of student performance,
- study environment, and,
- conditions for combining student life with parenthood.
The University is also inspected by the Equality Ombudsman, who monitor that the law is followed.
As a student, in addition to the protection of the Discrimination Act, you are also protected against degrading treatment. Degrading treatment is dealt with under the Work Environment Act and is defined as recurring negative actions targeting individual students. This can be for example when a student is systematically ignored, excluded, criticised and ridiculed in front of others, denied information and slandered.
All students have a right to a working environment free from degradation.
Harassed or discriminated?
Harassed or discriminated?
It is always you who decide whether or not the behaviour is degrading.
Some examples of harassment and discrimination:
- You are homosexual and studying to become a nurse, but you are refused tuition because the tutor feels it is unsuitable for homosexuals to work in the care sector.
- You are originally from Iraq and have your Iraqi school certificates translated into Swedish by the National Agency for Higher Education. The university only accepts certificates from Swedish schools and you are unable to apply.
- You have a hearing disability and are to take an oral examination, but the room lacks technical hearing aids.
- You are a male student in teacher training, and are denied a placement because the personnel at the work placement say they will only receive female students.
- All exams at the university are scheduled to take place on Fridays and Saturdays. This can cause problems for those of the Islamic or Jewish faith.
- Part of the course is presented through group work and the teacher divides the class into groups. The other members of your group meet several times to work without telling you and do not tell you that the presentation date has been changed.
What do the terms mean?
- Direct discrimination is when a person is treated worse than another in a comparable situation.
- Indirect discrimination is when apparently neutral conditions are set, which in practice are unfair to people of a gender, ethnic origin, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or functional disability.
Harassment means behaviour that interferes with the personal dignity of a university student. Harassment can be physical, verbal or non-verbal.
Coping and reporting
Coping and reporting
If the harassment does not stop after you have complained to the harasser, you should turn to your teachers, Department Head, Student Counsellor, the Student Union, or the Student Health Service.
It is important that the University is informed early about what has happened, so that the harassment/discrimination can stop as soon as possible.
The goal is always to swiftly and confidentially ensure that the harassment or discrimination stops. During any investigation, you as a student always have the right to a support person throughout the investigation.
What can you do?
If you as a student feel that someone has subjected you to harassment or discrimination, we urge you to actively try to do something about it.
You can find support in the following points.
- Be clear! Confront the perpetrator at once. Leave no room for misunderstanding.
- Remember that it is not your fault. If you find it difficult to protest verbally, write a letter.
- Write what happened, so that it is easier for you to think it through and document it.
- Tell someone you trust what happened.
- If you need counselling and support, contact for example a teacher, Department Head or Study Counsellor, the Student Union or the Student Health Service.
- Report what has happened if you consider the incident needs to be investigated in a more formal manner.
The University is obliged to investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged harassment. The University or the person you have reported may not, under any circumstance, subject you to consequences for reporting harassment.
If you feel that you are subjected to harassment or discrimination, never hesitate to contact a University employee or the Student Union.
Who can you turn to?
If you need advice or support on matters concerning harassment or discrimination at the University of Skövde, you can contact one of the following people:
- Your Student Counsellor
- Lecturer or The Head of the School
- The Student Counsellor specialising in disability and equal treatment
- The Student Health Service
- The Student Union, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your student safety officer, the Student Union website.
You can also turn direct to the ombudsman, the Equality Ombudsman.
Students at the University of Skövde have joint responsibility for the non-occurrence of discrimination and harassment. It is therefore important that you, as a fellow student, are attentive to what happens in your surroundings.
- Be aware of your fellow students’ reactions.
- Dare to ask if you wonder about an incident or how somebody is feeling.
- Listen when someone wants to talk about what he or she feels. Take the time it needs.
- Take the account of what happened seriously and look at it from the victim’s perspective.
- For counselling or support, you can contact your Student Counsellor, the Student Union, the Student Health Service or a University employee.