Harassment at UCLouvain: University to offer victim support

Harassment at UCLouvain: University to offer victim support
UCLouvain, Credit: EmDee (CC BY 4.0)

An investigation was launched on Tuesday into allegations of harassment after numerous complaints from staff members of UCLouvain, with the university now offering support to victims.

As part of their RESPECT campaign, UCLouvain wishes to "improve the supervision and support for victims of harassment”. A group of experts will evaluate the regulatory framework and current measures for dealing with harassment, in order to guarantee a safe working environment for employees and students.

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, climatology professor at UCLouvain, recently came forward about sexually transgressive behaviour. "We are not talking about simple rude remarks, this is much more serious. These are gestures and forms of sexual aggression. I am aware of a dozen cases that took place in 7 different faculties, i.e. almost half of the faculties of the UCLouvain," Ypersele told RTBF.

He insisted that “sexual harassment cannot go unpunished" and encouraged victims "to file a complaint with the Labor Auditor of Walloon Brabant."

“Moral and/or sexual harassment cannot go unpunished. The toxic culture that has allowed its development must absolutely be eradicated. Procedures will have to be modified and sanctions taken. Reparations should be offered to the victims.”

UCLouvain is not the only university that has to deal with complaints of harassment. 700 staff members of the Leuven Catholic University (KU Leuven) signed an open letter to rector Luc Sels demanding more action after abusive behaviour of one of the university's professors, including sexist remarks and inappropriate advances.

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