Feeling socially safe is a relevant condition in flourishing in your study. You may feel affected in your social safety due to a disrespectful approach or an unacceptable behaviour. For instance, bullying, being left out, (sexual) harassment or violence, aggression, discrimination in whatever form. Here, we provide the view of the EEMCS Faculty on social safety, an overview of relevant regulations that contain definitions of unacceptable behaviour, and UT webpages and contacts that are of use to you in case your sense of security is reduced.
The view of the faculty board on social safety is shared in the section below.
You have come here from near and far, out of a desire to acquire knowledge and skills on a topic close to your heart. You have come here to experience new things, to expand your horizons, in a spirit of enterprise. During your time here, you will also discover more about yourself and your fellow students; you will make friends and might find love; you will explore your limits and meet personal triumphs and tragedies. For most of you, this is a period in your life with few responsibilities and great freedom.
Together with your fellow students, you are in a cauldron of a great diversity in outlooks and backgrounds. Culturally, religiously, ethnically and in gender, there is a broad range. This diversity is part of what you have chosen for by joining this university, and we expect you to live up to it.
Diversity is primarily something to benefit from: the insight that not everybody ticks the same way can be a great eye-opener, and it is well known that diversity in teams enhances their creativity. However, diversity also means that you can take less for granted. Attitudes and behaviour that are normal in one context may be taken entirely differently in another. Misunderstandings can easily arise, especially if you are not aware of those differences. We ask you to keep in mind that, at all times, respect for one another's outlook is the norm; and we expect everyone to behave accordingly.
One step beyond misunderstandings, situations may arise in which you are no longer comfortable, on a personal level. At some point or another, you may feel ignored, bullied, put down, insulted, threatened or harassed; or you may observe or sense that others feel that way. These situations are typified as "unsafe".
As a university and faculty, we are committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment. This is not achieved automatically, and cannot be achieved at all without your own involvement. Apart from you yourself refraining from behaviour that threatens or violates others' sense of safety, your involvement also means active bystandership, as well as bringing violations that do occur to our attention. The channels available for this are your study adviser or one of the university's confidential advisors. You may rely on all signals being treated both seriously and confidentially.
There are, unfortunately, limits to the measures we are authorised to take as university or faculty. For instance, we cannot legally evict a student for behaviour, however bad. Plus there are limits to our sphere of influence and responsibility - say, in the evening in some bar. That doesn't mean we turn a blind eye: we will talk to the people involved (where possible within the framework of confidentiality and the wish of the reporter), see what we can do to put things right. There is no denying, however, that some incidents can never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
Better to avoid such incidents in the first place! Our basic assumption is that everyone in the university community, teachers and students alike, are here with the best intentions, to learn, to live and to thrive; and we expect all to realise that that also means to let others thrive in their own ways. By all means, let us continue to benefit from all that diversity!
Prof. dr. ir. Arend Rensink
Vice-Dean of Education Faculty EEMCS
RELEVANT UNIVERSITY REGULATIONS (AND LEGAL PROTECTION)
- Student Charter
The Student Charter provides an overview of the rights and obligations of both students and the University. In the institutional section, there is a chapter on university-wide rules of conduct and on legal protection for students which also covers a part on health, safety and wellbeing.
- Code of conduct (un)acceptable behaviour
A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the norms, rules and responsibilities or proper practices of an individual party or an organization. The code of conduct for unacceptable behaviour provides policy rules with regard to inappropriate forms of behaviour.
In this code of conduct, you can find terms defining unacceptable behaviour and different forms, to whom the code is applicable and which procedures are in place.
- Student integrity guide (house of integrity)
The UT has its policies, regulations and practices regarding integrity in its broad scope collected in an integrated integrity programme called ‘House of Integrity’. The integrity website also contains a flowchart on which people you can contact in various integrity dilemma’s, captured in the student integrity guide.
RELEVANT UNIVERSITY PAGES
- Sexual Violence
All sexual acts that a person is forced to perform, undergo or witness fall under the term sexual violence. On the Student Affairs Coaching & Counselling (SACC) website section on sexual violence, you can find more information regarding this matter, sexual consent and where to turn to, including a link to the accompanying student well-being Canvas site.
- SACC Personal Cirumstances
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The UT has made a clear priority to make its environment more inclusive. You can read more on the diversity page what the UT is exactly aiming for, what kind of support is offered, and how you can actively join in to help create that shared sense of belonging.
- Overview of Regulations
UT Regulations that can be relevant for students can be found on the SACC regulations overview webpage. Among other links, quick-links to the UT complaints desk, the ombuds officer UT and unacceptable behaviour regulations are collected here.
- Confidential Advisor
We would like to bring special attention to the Confidential advisor for students. The confidential advisor is your contact if you have (had) to deal with undesirable behaviour or unequal treatment during your studies.
NB. Since 2021, the possibility to contact a confidential advisor for students has been arranged and formalised at the UT. Before then, this function was taken upon by student counsellors. Therefore, in older documents, mentioning or referral to student counsellor can be found.
- Study Adviser
If you are not sure whether a situation can be classified as ‘unacceptable behaviour’, you can always contact your study adviser for advice and support.
Your study advisor can help you in case the violence impacts your study progress or arrangements need to be made within your programme.