Do students at the Science Faculty encounter harassment?
Within the Faculty of Science, a survey was disseminated among Bachelor and Master students to investigate the prevalence of harassment (defined as ”unwanted conduct occurring with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”). It was an initiative by a sub-committee of the Gender and Diversity Committee of the Faculty of Science since the prevalence of harassment was unknown. The survey was filled in by 610 (22% of all) students. All study programs and student cohorts were represented. Seven percent (42) of the respondents had experienced a form of harassment at the faculty. Two thirds of these respondents were female students. The percentage of students who observed the harassment of someone else was comparable (also 7%, 40) with some overlap with those who experienced it themselves (27). What drew the attention was the low number of reported instances (5). This might partly be explained by the fact that half of the respondents answered that they did not know where to go to in case of harassment.
The Faculty Board takes these findings seriously. Every instance of harassment is undesirable and does not fit to the vision of the faculty as an open and inclusive study and working environment. They have therefore formulated the following measures.
- Confidential advisors are made more visible. Stickers in the Huygens building will be placed to inform students and employees about what harassment is and who the contact persons are. They are also made more accessible by providing one email address (as exists already for employees).
- The survey will be repeated every two years to investigate whether the prevalence of harassment decreases. We hope that other faculties and universities follow in closely looking at the prevalence of harassment among students and staff.
More information on undesired behavior can be found here: