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6.3 Dignity and Respect at Study


The College's Dignity and Respect Policy lays out both duties that we expect of students and the ways in which any students who feel that they are being badly treated can seek redress. The College’s core values encompass freedom of thought and expression, and freedom from discrimination. Selwyn College is committed to maintaining a learning, living and working environment in which the rights and dignity of all members of the community are respected. The College therefore expects all members of its community to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration. Each person has the right to expect professional behaviour from others and has a corresponding responsibility to behave professionally towards others.

Freedom of speech and academic freedom are protected by law though these rights must be exercised within the law. Vigorous academic debate will not amount to harassment when it is conducted respectfully and without violating the dignity of others.

Behaviour is defined as inappropriate if:

  • it is unwanted by the recipient;
  • it is perceived by the recipient as violating their dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; and
  • the behaviour could reasonably be considered as having that effect having regard to all the circumstances, including the recipient's perception.

This definition applies whether or not there was an intention to cause that effect.

Inappropriate behaviour may include a number of specific behaviours – such as bullying, or harassment on account of sex (including gender reassignment), race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, sexuality, religion or belief, or age. Also, behaviour that may appear trivial as a single incident can constitute harassment or bullying when repeated. The College has appointed Fellows to act as champions on these issues. Supporting the Senior Tutor, the Discrimination and Harassment Officers are part of a network of such College appointees. Their role is to provide a point of contact for students who wish to raise issues and concerns, to promote good practice within the College and ensure that we do all we can to make all our students feel safe and welcome. The Discrimination and Harassment Officers are: Dr Charlotte Woodford (cw268), Dr Ronita Bardhan (rb867) and Dr Robert Tasker (rct31). Do not hesitate to contact them.

To work and study effectively all students need a climate of equal opportunity in which they are respected and valued for their contribution, irrespective of their sex, gender identity (including reassignment), marital, parental or partnership status, race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, sexuality, religion or belief, or age. The College will not tolerate the harassment or bullying of any member of its community by another.

The Respect and Dignity Policy is intended primarily for:

  • students who have complaints concerning the behaviour of other students at the College (and who consider that they have been harassed or bullied by another student or students at the College) where the complaint arises within the College teaching, learning living and working environment; and
  • students who have complaints concerning the behaviour of members of College staff (and who consider that they have been harassed or bullied by a member of College staff) where the complaint arises within the College teaching, learning, living and working environment.
  • students who have complaints relating specifically to harassment and sexual misconduct should note that a separate procedure and policy exists for such cases, both at the College and the University level. In such cases, please see the College's policy for details.

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour will be taken very seriously by the College and could result in disciplinary action.

The College will take action to ensure that any student raising a genuine concern related to harassment and bullying, or other inappropriate behaviour, is not victimised as a result. However, where such allegations are proven to be vexatious or malicious, a complainant may be the subject of disciplinary action.

The University has its own complaints and review procedure. This concerns complaints, including allegations of harassment or bullying, which arise within the University teaching, learning and working environment. See the web pages relating to the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals for details.