Dignity at study

Dignity at Study (Harassment and Bullying)
October 2013
Information correct at time of publication

Harassment, Bullying & Victimisation
As a student at Anglia Ruskin University, you are entitled to treatment that is fair and equitable, ensuring dignity, courtesy and respect in or outside the University. 
 
Unacceptable behaviour at work or in the learning environment could be harassment, bullying or victimisation. It is any inappropriate form of behaviour or language that creates an environment which is hostile and intimidating for the person on the receiving end.
 
This can include inappropriate comments or pictures on social media which can be deemed offensive, harassing or bullying.
 
Unsuitable behaviour can create feelings of ridicule, offence and loss of privacy for individuals who suffer from it. The most important factor is how the behaviour is interpreted by the victim. 
 

Harassment

In UK law, harassment is defined as ‘unwanted conduct that creates the effect of violating people’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’.
 
There are a number of forms of harassment including:
 
Sexual harassment  
Any unwanted sexual attention as well as discrimination on the grounds of an individual’s sex:
 
• Suggestive looks, jokes, use of insulting language or pornography and physical contact to which the individual objects.
 
• Unfair allocation of work or exclusion based on an individual’s sex.
 
Racial harassment 
Any offensive behaviour, language or conduct that is directed at a person or group of one racial or ethnic origin towards a person or group of another.
 
Racial harassment can include unwelcome or offensive name-calling/jokes/material, mocking an individual for cultural difference and excluding an individual from everyday conversations, proceedings or opportunities due to their race or ethnicity.
 
On grounds of disability 
Any behaviour, language or conduct towards a person with a disability, either mental or physical that is insulting or humiliating and lacks respect and courtesy.  This can include patronising language and exclusion from everyday conversations, events or opportunities on the grounds of an individual’s disability.
 
On grounds of sexual orientation
Any behaviour, language or conduct that relates to a person’s sexual orientation that offends or humiliates them, including the displaying of offensive homophobic material.
 
On grounds of religion or belief
Any offensive behaviour, language or conduct that relates to a person’s religion or personal convictions, or to their not belonging to a particular religion or belief.
 
• It may include offensive remarks or jokes, refusal to work with someone because of their religion or belief, or exclusion from activities relating to work, study or opportunities.
 
• It also includes subjecting people to evangelising during times allocated for work or study.
 
On grounds of age
Ageist remarks and generalisations relating to a person’s ability or potential which relate only to their age as well as excluding a person on the grounds of their age. Age discrimination at work and study is illegal following the Equality Act 2010.
 

Bullying

A psychological form of persecution that is present behind all forms of harassment and direct discrimination, normally involving the misuse of power, position or knowledge. It may be more subtle and not have such an obvious focus as the kinds of harassment referred to above but it is persistent over a period of time. In any form of bullying the victim will feel threatened, humiliated or undermined and may even blame himself or herself.
 
• Examples of bullying are personal insults or unjustified criticism, name-calling, outbursts of anger, shouting or swearing, public humiliation or excluding or ignoring someone.
 
• In common with harassment it may take the form of person to person abuse, or be via email, texting or other forms of electronic media.
 
Victimisation
 
Victimisation is when a person is punished or treated unfairly because they have made a complaint, are believed to have made a complaint or have supported someone who has made a complaint against the University, a Faculty, department or individual.
 
What support can you expect as a student at Anglia Ruskin University?
 
The University is committed to helping you make sure that any unacceptable behaviour of the kind described above is stopped.
 
Student Services or the Students’ Union Advice Service can provide you with assistance to do this.  However, the University does recognise that, on rare occasions, complaints of harassment may be brought with malicious or spurious intent.  This can result in disciplinary action being taken against the complainant.
 
The University will observe and maintain confidentiality wherever possible but it must be recognised that preserving anonymity may make it difficult to resolve the issue.
 
Informal procedure
It is best to deal with unacceptable behaviour informally in the first instance whenever possible.  It may be that the person causing you distress is unaware that you find their behaviour offensive.
 
• Keep records detailing witnesses, times, dates and a full description of events.
 
• Act quickly rather than waiting for the situation to escalate until you find it intolerable. 
 
• You may feel that you can approach the person yourself and explain that their behaviour towards you is causing distress. You may prefer to write a letter to the person concerned.
 
• Ask for assistance from Student Services, the Students’ Union, your personal tutor or another member of staff within your Faculty.  Counsellors with Student Services are another source of support.
 
However, if you feel your personal safety is at risk, do not delay but take action immediately by reporting the incident to University Security on ext. 6444.
 
If the above does not resolve the problem or you do not wish to address it in this way, you may contact your Dean of Faculty or the Director of Student Services, who will contact the alleged harasser informally on your behalf.
 
Formal procedure
If the above does not put an end to the inappropriate behaviour, the matter may be raised formally. If your complaint is about another student, you should refer to the University’s Student Disciplinary Procedure contained within the Rules, Regulations & Procedures for Students. Also, see the Students Union Advice Service leaflet ‘Discipline’. If your complaint is about a member of University staff, you should refer to the University’s Student Complaints Procedure contained within the Rules, Regulations & Procedures for Students. Also, see the Students’ Union Advice Service leaflet ‘Making a Complaint’.
 
What do you do if harassment occurs outside the University?
Anti-discrimination laws deal specifically with harassment on the grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and age. In addition, the introduction of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 made it illegal for an individual, whether in or outside of work or the learning environment, to ‘pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another’.  Seek support from Student Services or the Students’ Union or the Citizens Advice Bureau if you find yourself a victim of harassment outside of the University.
 
Useful Contacts
Anglia Ruskin University’s Dignity at Work and Study Policy is contained within the Rules, Regulations and Procedures for Students. It is also available on the University’s website:
 
Student Services, Counselling website is at the following link:
 
Please note, ARU policy states;
‘We know there is the possibility that complaints can be made maliciously, or for reasons which are not genuine. If this happens, we may take disciplinary action against the person making them. It can result in the person being dismissed or expelled from Anglia Ruskin University.’
 

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