Sexual Harassment in the Academy

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Het Pand – Oude Infirmerie
Ghent University

Organized by
CEVI – Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry
INSEP – Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics
ANSER – Academic Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy


Context & Objectives

There has always been a sense that the academy has been no less a space for sexual harassment than any other organisations and institutions, even against the championing of inclusion and progressive gender politics. For the 21st Century University, sexual harassment constitutes a significant threat to reputation and liability to legal claims, as both legislation, law and culture promotes sexual equality. It also constitutes a threat to effective teaching and research, collegial relations and ethical relationships between academic staff, students and the administrative and service staff.  Even without these threats, there is an increasing awareness that simple codes of conduct, disciplinary regulations and progressive rhetoric’s do not address what is a complex social and cultural problem beyond the bounds of the institution.  What can be done is to review the institutional culture, processes, policies and practices with a view to changing culture and effecting change to the causes of harassment and discrimination before the symptoms of complaints, grievances and distress.

This one-day workshop seeks to outline the problem, look at some contemporary policy and practice responses and then explore some strategies for prevention and change.  It is intended as a guided forum for discussion, where the delivery team prompt the discussion rather than adopt an authoritative voice, and the participants in the workshop share their thoughts and understandings of the problem in a collegial space where rank and position are suspended.


10.00     Introduction
10.15     Sexual Harassment in the Academy – Nature and impact of the problem – Ines Keygnaert (ICRH & ANSER)
11.30     Coffee
11.50     Policies and Practices: A Critical Review – Tom Claes (CEVI, INSEP & ANSER)
13.00     Lunch
13.45     Strategies for Prevention and Change – Paul Reynolds (Edge Hill University, UK, INSEP & ANSER)
15.00     Coffee
15.20     Chaired Discussion
16.15     Closing Remarks – Next Steps
16.30     Close

Ines Keygnaert
International Centre for Reproductive Health – ICRH
Ghent University; Belgium

Tom Claes
Associate Professor of Ethics
Ghent University, Belgium

Paul Reynolds
Reader in Sociology and Social Philosophy
Edge Hill University, UK