University Bullying and Harassment Procedures
Independent Advice, Support and Representation
What can you do if you are feeling bullied or harassed? If you feel that you are being bullied or harassed in any way then please don’t hesitate to come and speak to us in the Students’ Union about it. We can help you follow this procedure and/or we can also offer you a confidential space to talk about your situation with someone who will not make any judgements or take any action that you are not completely happy with. The University has a policy on Bullying and Harassment which all registered students are able to use if they feel that they are experiencing bullying or harassment by any other individual within the University including Students or Staff. If a student feels that bullying and/or harassment has occurred on a placement involving placement staff or their clients a student need to follow the relevant procedures and policies of that host institution or organisation. Please get in touch with the Students’ Union Advisor for more information on this – alternatively if you are a member of a teaching Union then they can also help here.
What might bullying and harassment include? Harassment can be defined as ‘any act or conduct which is unwanted and offensive, hostile, malicious, threatening, demeaning or is considered conduct which could violate another’s dignity causing the recipient to feel humiliated, embarrassed, alarmed, distressed, tormented, excluded or withdrawn. Incitement to commit any of the above could also constitute harassment.’ Bullying could be defined as: ‘the persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour that undermines the confidence and capabilities of an individual.
Bullying and harassment could include: • Threats, written, verbal (by face or telephone) or electronic. • Behaviour that causes distress to a victim e.g. silent phone calls, the giving of unwanted or inappropriate gifts. • Verbal and / or written abuse, innuendoes or insults. • Damaging a victim’s property. • Display of offensive material (posters, signs, graffiti, flags etc). • Using offensive language or obscene gestures. • Use of physical violence. • Invasion of personal space, recognising that the definition of personal space can differ with different cultures. • Unwarranted or invalid criticism. • Setting unrealistic or unfair goals, which the bully knows are unreasonable and/or unachievable. • Constant undervaluing of the recipient’s contribution. • Belittling, demeaning, humiliating or patronising the recipient in front of others. • Blaming the recipient for another’s mistake. • Constantly reminding the recipient of any failures in the past. • The bully not talking to the recipient; the only communication being in writing. • Treating someone differently from others for no reason. • Excessive supervision making the recipient feel undervalued and inadequate. Essentially, in considering what may or may not be bullying and/or harassment the University uses the test of ‘reasonableness’ - would a reasonable person in possession of the same information feel that the alleged conduct or behaviour constituted harassment?
What to do if you think you are being bullying or harassed If you feel that you, or someone you know, is being bullied or harassed then it’s important to take action quickly. You can contact the students Union Advice staff member Trish Lee using the contact details on the back of this information sheet and she can talk your situation through with you and discuss some of the options available. Any discussion will be confidential and you won’t be placed under any pressure to take any action that you’re not comfortable with
Contacting the Advice Service
If you would like any further information, would like to arrange an appointment or want to speak to a Students’ Union Advice Service staff member then contact:
Students’ Union Student Advisors Telephone: 01524 590810 email: email@example.com You can also drop in to your local Students’ Union Office on each main Campus to speak to the Student Advisor in person, on the telephone or to arrange a suitable appointment.
If you’d prefer it you can arrange an online chat with the Student Advisor on MSN Messenger (Mon-Fri 10am- 4pm) email: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment.
Why not visit the Advice Service section of the Students’ Union website to see what other information and advice we can offer?
If you would like this document in an alternative format please contact Mike Taylor On Tel:01524 590810 or e-mail:email@example.com
All you need to know as a UoC student about the bullying and harassment procedure.