School of GeoSciences

Harassment, bullying and victimisation

The School has a zero tolerance stance towards any form of bullying, harassment and victimisation

The School aims to support and build a culture of inclusivity that does not tolerate sexual harassment, harassment, bullying or victimisation. Complaints of harassment, bullying or victimisation won’t be swept under the carpet and will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.  

The University's Respect at Edinburgh web hub provides guidance on for raising and addressing concerns,.

Impact of harassment, bullying and victimisation

Harassment and bullying impacts the lives of people for years if not decades, it impacts career development and an individual’s capacity to form sustained relationships. Due to the demographic inequity of those likely to be subject to harassment and bullying (e.g. women, people from different cultures, people from the LGBTQI community), as a School, we need to reflect on how such issues play out not only immediately (i.e. how do we respond in the moment), but impact diversity in our workplace (e.g. contributing to ongoing gender imbalance), and the degree to which we offer a supportive and safe learning and work environment (i.e. our staff and student culture). As a School, we have a duty of care to our students and students to ensure we support their welfare, especially in supervisor/student and academic/professional staff relationships that can have a power dimension. On that note, this is a reminder about the School's approach to harassment and bullying, and the University's Dignity and Respect policy.

Dignity and Respect

The University is committed to providing an environment in which all members of the University community treat each other with dignity and respect, and where bullying, harassment and discrimination are known to be unacceptable.  The School regards any incident of bullying, harassment or discrimination as a serious matter and will respond promptly and sensitively to formal complaints, and where appropriate take disciplinary action.  Full details of the University’s dignity and respect policy are here.

What is harassment?

Under the Equality Act 2016, harassment is defined as: “Unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic (including age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation) which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.”

Such unwanted behaviour can involve:

  • Spoken and written words
  • Offensive emails, tweets, or comments on social media
  • Threat or abuse
  • Physical behaviour – jokes, teasing and pranks that serve to isolate or exclude people.

Under the auspices of the same act, sexual harassment is defined as unwanted conduct towards a person that is of a sexual nature, and can include:

  • Physical behaviour – including inappropriate touching, unwelcome sexual advances, and various forms of sexual conduct
  • Displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature
  • Sending emails with a sexual content.

Raising concerns of harassment, bullying or victimisation, and dealing with concerns received

As a School, we will support any member of staff or any student who has experienced harassment, bullying or victimisation, or who wants to know how to support someone else.

The University's Respect at Edinburgh web hub brings together information and guidance on the Dignity & Respect policy, the processes for raising and addressing concerns, and the support and training available.

Raising Concerns

If you want to discuss a matter in confidence, approach someone you are comfortable speaking with and they can help you raise a concern or a complaint. The School has a Support Network who can be contacted, or you can contact University Dignity & Respect Advisers, your line manager or your Personal Tutor or Supervisor.  

The School's Support Network includes:

  • Staff:  Administrative Services Manager; Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Champion; Athena Swan Champion; Director of Professional Services; Head of School; or a member of the School's Policy & Resources Committee.
  • Students: Student Support Coordinators; Teaching Organisation Manager; PGR Team Leader; Head of Student Services; Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Champion; Athena Swan Champion; Director of Professional Services; or the Head of School.
  • The full list of current Support Network members can be found here.

The University's Respect at Edinburgh web hub provides guidance for staff and students who wish to raise a concern.

Responding to Concerns  

The University's Respect at Edinburgh web hub provides guidance on how to respond to a concern.

If you are unsure how to respond to a concern, contact the Director of Professional Services.