UNIL has a duty to offer its community, in all its diversity, an ever more effective mechanism that anyone can use to report or denounce acts of sexism or sexual harassment. UNIL's Rectorate has therefore launched a wide-ranging process involving consultation with all the partners in its community, such as student associations and unions, in order to deploy an ambitious system to prevent and deal with acts of sexism and sexual harassment in a satisfactory and voluntary manner as of January 2022.
For UNIL's Rectorate, it is a question of taking in-depth action to promote a culture of respect and conviviality that is beneficial to teaching, research and work relations in a safe environment. In recent situations, the Rectorate has been able to measure the difficulty of applying its threefold objective, namely, zero tolerance of sexual harassment and sexism, a context that encourages victims to speak out, and the prevention of such phenomena. Moreover, the handling of the cases brought to its attention has not always made it possible to meet this triple objective. In close collaboration with the Department of Education, Youth and Culture (DFJC), the Rectorate therefore requested an external audit of its processes. This audit, which is available on the DFJC website, made several recommendations that guided the work of the Rectorate. The Rector, Frédéric Herman, is pleased to be able to count on the conviction and full support of State Councillor Cesla Amarelle, head of the DFJC, towards the implementation of a framework that will enable us to meet this triple objective.
In concrete terms, UNIL is proposing to set up an independent and autonomous welcome, listening and support unit, which will be rapidly implemented by a person who will take up his or her duties on December 1. The aim is to provide a single, simple point of entry for identifying people's needs and implementing the appropriate measures for each situation.
Any person who contacts the future unit about an incident involving sexual harassment will be able to express themselves without fear. All those involved will be assured of professional and transparent support throughout the procedure. As far as administrative investigations are concerned, the UNIL management has already decided to call on new service providers. People who are sanctioned or disciplined by their hierarchy at the end of the procedure will also benefit from an HR follow-up aimed at giving them the means to adopt an appropriate attitude. If an entire entity is involved, it may be subjected to an in-depth clarification of its operations, and if necessary to corrective measures. At all stages of the procedure, various legal, social and scientific skills within and outside the institution will be mobilized: the spirit of this new mechanism is that, in addition to legal standards, the sensitivity of the victims or relational or managerial dysfunctions that would escape the strict definition of harassment should also be taken into account.
While waiting for this system to be deployed, the UNIL management invites anyone wishing to report old or new cases of sexual harassment or sexism to use the resources presented on the website: www.unil.ch/help. The Rectorate would also like to take the opportunity of this message to express its gratitude to the courageous people who, despite the difficulties, have alerted it to cases of sexism or sexual harassment. Their testimonies have provided the Rectorate with valuable information on how best to strengthen its system. With the development of a reinforced system, UNIL intends to secure its work and study environment in the strongest and clearest way possible. This decision of the Rectorate commits the whole institution, the students as well as all the employees.