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Education provider’s checklist

As an organisational manager responsible for education, you have a responsibility and an obligation to act if you are made aware of something that could constitute abusive conduct. Here you will learn about the process for investigating the conduct and what is important to consider.

Contents on this page: 

Act as soon as you are made aware of an event

When you as an organisational manager responsible for education are made aware of conduct that could constitute harassment or sexual harassment (hereafter referred to abusive conduct), you must determine what has transpired as quickly as possible. You and the member of teaching staff responsible for the course attended by the students concerned need to cooperate on the issue.

Depending on the organisation of your faculty or department, there is assistance available to help you manage the entire process. This page primarily addresses the support offered by the education provider. You can also obtain support from the SFAD team coordinator, work environment coordinator and other support functions at the faculty or department. If it is unclear what support is available for the education provider at your faculty or department, check with the SFAD coordinator.

An investigation into abusive conduct may take different forms depending on what has transpired. Sometimes the situation can be easily remedied by you or the course director speaking to the individuals concerned to clear up any misunderstandings or similar. In a teaching situation, it might suffice if the lecturer clarifies that the behaviour is not acceptable and the student who exhibited the abusive conduct puts a stop to the behaviour. In this type of case, the lecturer must always document that the discussions took place, what caused the situation and which measures they implemented. The lecturer does not need to conduct a more extensive investigation.

Sometimes the conduct has a more serious or complex nature, and in those cases a more structured investigation needs to be conducted. 

Read more about structured investigations

Checklist in the event of abusive conduct

  1. Investigate the conduct: Ascertain what has happened as soon as you are made aware of conduct that could be abusive in some form. Speak to the individuals concerned, appoint an impartial and knowledgeable investigator if required and start a harassment case (also called discrimination case) in the document registration system.
  2. Document the process: Write down what has happened and save the information in the case. What has happened? When did it happen? Who was involved? Which measures did you take, when and with whom? Remember to write in an objective manner. Save the minutes from the discussions and any other documentation that arrives during the case. If you start a structured investigation, all of the documentation relevant to the investigation is to be registered in an investigation case.
  3. Implement measures: Make certain that the abusive conduct stops. As an education provider, the measures available are sometimes limited, but you can always speak to the individual who has been accused of the abusive behaviour. Inform them that the behaviour is not allowed and that the conduct may need to be reported to the Disciplinary Board if it does not stop. The lecturer can also be clear in communicating to the entire student group which types of behaviour are prohibited and why.
  4. Follow up the conduct: Make certain that the abusive conduct has stopped by speaking to those concerned. If the measures have not sufficed, you must implement further measures in order to prevent the behaviour. Speak to the SFAD coordinator or other support function for assistance. Consider reporting the case to the Disciplinary Board.
  5. Prevent similar events: As a manager with organisational responsibility for education you are responsible for ensuring that active preventative work against harassment is in place within education. You have several support functions at your disposal. Examples of important support functions include the faculty’s SFAD coordinator and the work environment coordinator. You are responsible for ensuring that local procedures are in place for handling abusive conduct that concerns students. Among other things, the procedures are to clarify where a student is to turn if they feel targeted.

All types of abusive behaviour are prohibited at Lund University. This is clarified in both the Equal Opportunities Plan for Lund University, 2022-2027 and the Work Environment Policy. It is your responsibility to ensure that all students on the programme or course are familiar with the prohibition and understand what it means.

There is more information about the Disciplinary Board available on the Staff Pages if you require additional support in handling a student who disrupts teaching or cheats. In extreme cases and if the conduct is of a very serious nature, you might need to contact the Security and Environment Division for assistance in managing the situation.

Contact the Security and Environment Division (Staff Pages)

Read more about the Disciplinary Board (Staff Pages)

Start an investigation

As an organisational manager responsible for education your obligation to investigate and take measures applies to all types of harassment and sexual harassment that arise in or have a close association to the study environment at the University. This means that the obligation – depending on the situation – might apply to events outside the University, for example during free time, that lead to abusive conduct in the study environment at the University. For example, something might happen on the way to or from a study session, in student life or on social media that results in conduct that negatively impact studies and the study environment.

You and your support function can together try to assess to what extent the conduct affects the study environment at the University and whether anything needs to be investigated. Be aware, however, that you are not to conduct a criminal investigation. Criminal investigations are done by the police if required. Neither are you to judge or blame anyone; rather, you are to put a stop to the conduct and prevent it from recurring.

It can be difficult to investigate conduct that you become aware of a long time after the fact. The individuals concerned and any witnesses will generally not remember exactly what happened, and it can be difficult to gather information in other ways. You are, however, obligated to do what you can to gather any available information so that you can determine whether the conduct can be prevented in the future. It is not reasonable to investigate anything that happened several years ago. You need to focus on what has happened and is happening now, and on what you can do about it.

The final thing you need to do in the case is to enter a decision in which you summarise your assessment of whether the conduct constitutes harassment or sexual harassment – or neither of these. You must also clarify if you will take measures to ensure a good study environment for the individuals concerned regardless of your assessment. The decision closes the case. The Disciplinary Board will open a new case if you report the conduct to them.

Read more about results, measures and preventative work


Manage expectations of the individuals concerned

An investigation into abusive conduct carried out by the education provider involves obtaining documentation to put a stop to the conduct and preventing its recurrence. Expectations on the part of the individual who feels targeted can sometimes be very emotional in that they want quick and drastic measures to be taken against the individual who they feel targeted them. You need to be clear in that the process generally involves the individual who is being accused – if the investigation supports doing so – being reprimanded and then being given the opportunity to demonstrate they can improve their conduct.

The individual being accused can become very troubled and stressed by the accusation and by the investigation into their conduct. In this case you also need to communicate which measures are most common. It is rare that conduct is serious enough for measures beyond a reprimand to be required.

Seek assistance from your local support function who is better versed in the Disciplinary Board and on which measures you can implement to improve the study environment for students.

Differences in the management of cases involving students and employees

How a case of abusive conduct is managed might depend on whether the individual being accused of the conduct is an employee or a student. The reason for the difference is primarily due to the relationship between an employer and an employee generally being both closer and more long term than that between an education provider and a student.

As an employer, the University is equipped to implement many more measures, as well as more vigorous ones, to deal with a poor work environment than it is to deal with students who negatively impact the study environment. Below is an illustration of who takes care of what in the event of perceived abusive conduct.

If a student is perceived as targeting another student, a member of teaching staff or another employee, you are to follow the instructions on this page. If an employee is perceived as targeting another employee or a student, you are to follow the Employer’s checklist.

Read more about the Employer’s checklist

Reprisals are prohibited

It is prohibited to subject a student or employee to reprisals because they have been part of an investigation, been targeted or been accused of abusive conduct. Reprisals entail someone being punished or treated negatively as a reaction to them calling attention to or reporting conduct that could constitute some type of abusive conduct.

Reprisals might be actions or statements that cause damage or discomfort on the part of the individual who made a report or called attention to an event. Reprisals might also pertain to actions that worsen the individual’s conditions or circumstances in the study environment.

As an organisational manager responsible for education it is up to you to ensure that all members of teaching staff are aware that reprisals are prohibited. Violating the prohibition could be classified as misconduct and entail a breach of the employment contract.

You are also responsible for ensuring that all students are aware that reprisals are prohibited. A student involved in creating a negative study environment may be reported to the Disciplinary Board.