Sexual Harassment Policy


A number of high-profile incidents and movements have driven universities and academic organisations to reconsider what they can do to eliminate sexual harassment. We consider some of these cases and responses and ask: Do sexual harassment policies do enough to protect victims? Should it be a university’s responsibility to investigate and sanction those against whom allegations are made? What other initiatives are helping to reduce sexual harassment in universities?

This session will include discussion of sexual harassment and organisational policies relating to sexual harassment. If you are affected by these issues, and wish to seek support, the BBC provides links to organisations that can help here

Facilitation Notes


Sexual harassment is a sensitive subject that may have profoundly affected some of your participants. To make sure this conversation is safe for all:

  1. Put trigger warnings on this topic or make sure people know in advance the topic’s content.
  2. Avoid anecdotal or triggering content and stick to the policy.
  3. Make sure all participants are being kind, open, and fair to each other to avoid conflicts.
  4. Link sources of support in the introduction paragraph that are current and specific to your university.
Discussion Questions
  • Is it a university’s responsibility to discipline and persecute those who have committed sexual harassment, or should it be the responsibility of the police?
  • Do universities do enough to protect students from sexual harassment?
  • Does the culture in academia fuel sexual harassment?
  • Should relationships between staff and students be banned? Why?
  • Can universities tackle sexual harassment internally or does it require the involvement of an independent organisation?
  • Should universities educate students and staff on rape culture and consent? If your university does, is it beneficial/what could be improved?
Resource Personalisation

You might want to start this week by linking to your own university’s sexual harassment policy or articles about your university’s experience with sexual harassment. 

Remember to avoid anecdotes or descriptions of sexual harassment events, as these can be triggering for some participants.

Culture Club.