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Tampere University Student's Handbook

Inappropriate conduct, harassment and bullying – help for students

Tampere University and TAMK

Tampere University has a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behaviour, harassment and bullying. The members of our community must not engage in conduct that may endanger the health and safety of others. We will respond to any inappropriate behaviour with a low threshold as soon as possible. Tampere University and TREY Student Union have harassment contact persons to whom incidents are reported and who will investigate them. The University’s harassment contact persons work at the Human Resources and Education and Continuous Learning Units. The harassment contact persons advise and support community members who have experienced harassment, inappropriate behaviour, bullying, discrimination or other unfair treatment.

You can also contact the University’s and TREY’s harassment contact persons or your faculty’s Head of Study Services if you are unsure about your situation or would just like to discuss possible ways of dealing with harassment. All discussions are strictly confidential.

How to identify inappropriate behaviour

Inappropriate behaviour is a pattern of unwelcome behaviour towards other people that violates the code of good conduct or law. Most often, it is systematic and continuous offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour manifested as actions and neglect. Even occasional and less severe incidents may constitute inappropriate behaviour if the behaviour is consistently directed at a specific person or persons. Inappropriate behaviour involves a repeated or persistent course of conduct or actions and may therefore endanger the health, safety and welfare of the person subjected to such behaviour. A fellow student or a staff member may be guilty of inappropriate behaviour.

Examples of inappropriate behaviour include:

  • threats and shouting
  • physical and emotional abuse
  • criticising the appearance, personality or personal life of a person or questioning his or her mental health
  • social exclusion

Harassment may be based on, for example, age, ethnicity, opinions, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Harassment is a range of behaviours, such as offensive language and actions and degrading attitudes. Sexual harassment may be physical or verbal. For example, unwanted sexual innuendo, lewd comments, sexual looks and gestures, and inappropriate touching and communications are forms of sexual harassment.

Emotional abuse is a persistent and repetitive pattern of behaviour that can include, for example, bullying, belittling and intimidation. It makes the victim feel distressed, oppressed, humiliated, threatened and helpless.

All conflicts do not constitute inappropriate behaviour

What does NOT constitute inappropriate behaviour:

  • disagreements concerning the assessment of a student’s academic performance
  • disciplinary action taken for a valid reason
  • discussions and interventions relating to a student’s ability to study

Even isolated incidents of inappropriate behaviour are not allowed in the university community, even if they do not generally constitute harassment as defined by law.

How to respond to inappropriate conduct

Harassment in any form should never be tolerated. If you experience or witness harassment, follow the guidelines below:

  1. If possible, react immediately. Do not wait for the situation to pass. Tell the person who is harassing you clearly and firmly that you find his or her behaviour offensive and want it to stop. Most situations are resolved through open discussion between the participants. If you are nervous about confronting the person by yourself, you can ask a friend to accompany you. If you suspect that laws have been broken, please report the offence with a low threshold to police.
  2. Record incidents as they happen (including the names of possible witnesses) and retain any evidence, such as text messages and emails.
  3. If you want to discuss and reflect the situation, contact your faculty’s Head of Study Services or a harassment contact person. Electronic or verbal discussions between a student and Head of Study Services or the University’s or TREY’s harassment contact person are confidential. Ways to proceed are agreed in the discussion. No further measures will be taken, or any further contacts made without permission. The contents and parties of the discussion are not archived. The number of discussions is reported for statistical reasons.
  4. If the preconditions of inappropriate conduct/bullying are fulfilled or the offensive behaviour continues even after is has been addressed, file an official complaint about the situation and send it either to hairintailmoitus.tau [at] tuni.fi or to TREY’s harassment contact person as detailed below. When you do this, the case is officially opened. Reported harassment is made rather widely known in the community and it will be addressed in accordance with the process described below.

Filing a harassment complaint

A) Inappropriate conduct, bullying and harassment between students in the context of teaching or research work.

  • Please complete this form where appropriate
  • Send the document to: hairintailmoitukset.tau [at] tuni.fi. Mail sent to the address will be read by the University’s harassment contact persons Seija Vehmasaho (HR), Emmi Mustaniemi (HR) and the as yet unnamed harassment contact persons (at Education & Continuous Learning) and Legal Counsel Elina Kautto.

B) A situation of improper conduct, bullying and harassment between a student and an employee

  • Please complete this form where appropriate
  • Send the document to: hairintailmoitukset.tau [at] tuni.fi. Mail sent to the address will be read by the University’s harassment contact persons Seija Vehmasaho (HR), Emmi Mustaniemi (HR) and the as yet unnamed harassment contact persons (at Education & Continuous Learning) and Legal Counsel Elina Kautto.

C) Inappropriate conduct, bullying and harassment between students in leisure time

The process after an official harassment complaint has been filed

A) Inappropriate conduct, bullying and harassment between students in the context of teaching or research work

  1. The harassment complaint is marked as received and recorded as an ongoing investigation within 14 days. The harassment contact person informs the person suspected of inappropriate conduct/harassment as well as Head of Study Services and Dean. The name of the person filing the complaint will also be told. 
  2. The harassment contact person gets in touch with the parties and, as necessary, invites them to a hearing one by one while others are informed of the complaint. The invitation details the topic of discussion and reserves time to get ready for the hearing. A support person can be brought to the hearing. The Head of Study Services will be present as possible.
  3. After the hearings, a joint discussion is held between all parties to briefly review their experiences, try to reconcile what happened and agree on how to proceed. The primary objective is to normalise the situation and restore peace to study. In addition to the mediation process, other measures may include, for example, issuing instructions and possible disciplinary proceedings against the culpable student. A support person(s) may be invited to the discussion. The Head of Study Services will be present. If necessary, other experts, such as the Dean, Vice-dean for Education, Head of Degree Programme or Legal Counsel may also attend the meeting.
  4. A memo will be drafted of the meeting. The way and how possible follow-up will be conducted is agreed. The memo is delivered to the parties involved as well as the Head of Study Services. Based on the memo, the harassment contact person or Head of Study Services prepares a Dean’s decision on the matter.
  5. The situation will be followed up as agreed. If the reported situation continues, the parties contact the harassment contact person.

B) Improper conduct, bullying or harassment between a student and an employee

  1. The harassment complaint is marked as received and recorded as an ongoing investigation within 14 days.  The harassment complaint is communicated by the harassment contact person to the person suspected of inappropriate behaviour /harassment, the Head of Study Services, the employee’s supervisor, Dean/Director of Service Unit, employer’s representative and HR Partner. The name of the person filing the complaint will also be told. 
  2. Harassment conduct persons begin the investigation either verbally discussing the matter with the parties involved and, when necessary, with other people who are aware of the situation. A memo will be drawn up of the discussions. An alternative method to proceed is to invite the parties to issue a written report of the incident as well as a response. A support person can be brought to the hearing. When necessary, the process may involve another expert such Head of Study Services, supervisor or Legal Counsel.
  3. After the investigation, measures will be taken which may include, for example, a reconciliation procedure, issuing guidelines, organising a hearing and possible punitive action taken against the student/employee. A joint discussion will be arranged for the parties, which briefly details the parties’ experiences, necessary measures and further actions. The primary goal is to normalise the situation and restore peace to study and work. A support person(s) may be invited to the discussion. When necessary, an expert can participate in the discussion.
  4. A memo will be drafted of the meeting detailing the agreement on when and how the possible follow-up will be conducted. The memo will be communicated to the parties in question as well as to the faculty’s Head of Study Services and Dean. Based on the memo, the harassment contact person or Head of Study Services prepares a decision to be taken by the Dean.
  5. The situation will be followed up as agreed. If the reported situation continues, the parties contact the harassment contact person again.

C) An incident of inappropriate conduct, harassment and bullying between students in leisure time

 

Published: 28.6.2022
Updated: 4.11.2022