Task Force Harassment A-Z & Promoting a Culture of Respect

Under the leadership of the Vice-President for Responsible Transformation (VPT) at EPFL, a Task Force Harassment A-Z & Promotion of a Culture of Respect has been set up in 2021, including several Working Groups (listed below).

The aim is to put in place prevention and support measures, and to ensure that the handling and management of situations meet the highest standards.

This Task Force does not replace the structures in place, such as the Respect Cell (which will evolve). It is a matter of ensuring that actions cover the entire spectrum of necessary actions (prevention, support, case management, sanctions), and of ensuring their consistency.

If you are looking for information, advice or support related to a possible harassment situation, you will find up-to-date information on the Respect pages.

Activities of the Task Force

Following the consultation (28 April to 18 July) of the new Directive on Psychosocial Risks at EPFL, as well as the amended Directive on Whistleblowing at EPFL, the Management adopted these two texts at its meeting on 6 September. The directives will come into force at the same time as the new Respect Compliance Officer. The recruitment process for the Respect Compliance Officer is expected to be completed at the end of November/beginning of December.

The members of the Task Force have also been informed about the implementation process of the Trust and Support Network, and the training program destined to its constituents. This training programme, whose modules are tailor-made for EPFL, includes training on the essential legal bases relating to Psychosocial Risks (October 2022 to January 2023), welcoming and taking care of people (1st and 2nd quarters of 2023), and training to deepen thematic skills.

This 12th meeting thus marks the end of the project phase of the Task Force. A report on the work of the Task Force and the project working groups will be drafted and made available on the website (expected date February 2023).

The members of the Task Force were informed on the progress in implementing the new support and complaint management system, with the entry into service of the Lead of the Trust and Support Network, the launch of the recruitment procedure for the position of Respect Compliance Officer and the consultation of the Directives on psychosocial risks.

In the area of prevention, awareness raising and training, the Task Force discussed the dissemination of the new E-learning and the initial positive feedback. It then discussed the complementary training program for the members of the Support and Trust Network. Finally, Ingrid Le Duc (CAPE) presented the report of the qualitative analyses of the harassment survey which will be published on the website.

The French and English versions of the e-learning will be available from 28 March 2022.

The members of the Task Force were informed of the successful recruitment for the position of Head of the Support and Confidence Network. The manager is expected to take up her post in May 2022.

The members of the Task Force were informed about the training programme planned for the members of the Support and Confidence Network. They also heard about the next steps planned in the field of prevention for specific contexts.  

The company eSkills is in the process of integrating the feedback received to the V1 of the e-learning. The delivery of V2 is scheduled for November 25. The focus will now be on the training measures complementary to the e-learning, and in priority the training program for the units and persons belonging to the future Trust and Support Network.

The TF has been informed about the visuals of phase 2 of the campaign, which will be deployed in December.

The entry into force of the new EPFL ordinance on disciplinary measures mentions demeaning, discriminatory, harassing or disrespectful behaviour explicitly among the breaches liable to a disciplinary sanction. The legal framework for the student population is thus reinforced. For staff, this is already the case.

Roland Tormay presented the results of the Survey on the Culture of Respect at EPFL to the TF.

The Task Force (TF) further discussed the modalities of dissemination of the online training module to EPFL employees and students. These principles were then validated by the Direction (October 26).

The TF was informed of the events organized in the framework of phase 2 of the campaign.

The members of the TF also took note of the timetable for the recruitment of the person in charge of the Support and Confidence Network and discussed the reinforcement measures to be put in place to absorb the number of reports likely to increase with the diffusion of e-learning.

The Task Force reviewed and discussed the progress of the deliverables and their implementation starting in September:

  • Respect Campaign: implementation of the 1st phase
  • Progress of e-learning and planning of phase 2 of the campaign
  • Pilot implementation of prevention measures in specific contexts (Welcome Week, Festivals, etc.)
  • Management decisions on the new support system (Trust & Support Network) and case management (Respect Compliance Office). Management decisions on the final elements are expected by the end of September.

The Task Force (TF) carried on the discussion regarding the future structure of prevention and management of harassment situations, organized into distinct levels, in view of a second reading by EPFL Direction at the end of August.

The TF also agreed to the idea of developing an App to be integrated within PocketCampus. This proposal will provide an additional entry point. A specific working group will address the details.

eSkills, the agency commissioned to create an e-learning program, provided a storyboard, which was sent to the TF members for feedack after the meeting.

Finally, the TF was informed of the three-phase communication plan that is foreseen for the start of the academic year:
1) Laying the foundation for the campaign: Values/ Respect;
2) Accompanying, supporting and preventing: give tools, inform about the support structure, deploy the e-learning;
3) Reinforcing and deepening the mechanisms over time.

The Task Force discussed and approved a concept for a confidential counselling and support system for EPFL students and employees. The Task Force members also reviewed and validated the progress of other deliverables, in particular the creation of an e-learning and the awarding of the mandate for the awareness raising campaign.

The working groups reported on the progress of the various deliverables. In particular, the Task Force validated the learning objectives of the training modules for the prevention of harassment, psychosocial risks and the promotion of a culture of respect.

  • Working Group’s progress report
  • Next steps (draft action plans/deliverables)
  • Questions/issues to share/important points for other groups
  • Clarification of the role of the Task Force in relation to the Copil Harassment and Risk Behavior and the Respect Unit.
  • Discussion Composition of the Task Force and Working Groups.
  • Establishment of a calendar.

Task Force Members

WG Investigations

The Copil ‘Enquêtes – Harcèlement et comportement à risque’ started its work at the end of 2019. Since 2021, it carries out its mandate in close collaboration with the Harassment A-Z Task Force. Its mandate is:

  • to evaluate the situation at EPFL (extent of the problems according to the different populations and themes; knowledge by the EPF community of the means made available; efficiency and shortcomings of the current organization);
  • to identify areas for improvement, as well as the associated quantifiable objectives;
  • to identify, with the Harassment Task Force, the measures to be implemented;
  • to regularly evaluate the effects of the measures taken (quality review).

Kolendowska Albertine, SAO
Hess Bellwald Kathryn,
AVP-SAO; van der Goot Gisou, VPT; Chuard Daniel, SAO; Du Pasquier Eric, DSPS; Noth Claudia, DRH; van Hunen Jeroen, AVP-PGE-EDOC; Ritter Nathalie, SAE; Feuz Corinne, Mediacom; Montemagni Camille, AGEPoly; van der Meer Marijn, Polyquity; Brès Camille, STI ; Brügger Julia, ADSV & SCBA; Miskovic Ljubisa, COSEC;  Antille Consuelo, AE ; Lambertini Luisa, AVP-PGE

WG Prevention

  • Define precisely the target audiences;
  • Offer training programs (short, medium and long term) adapted to each target audience, to create a culture of respect and inclusion on campus, to avoid sexual harassment and discrimination, etc;
  • Propose prevention measures for specific contexts (e.g. large events).

Füger Helene, EGA, coordination

Becker Kristin, VPT-EGA; Hazanov Ofra, F-RH; Kolendowska Albertine, SAO; Le Tiec Agnès, VPT; Luterbacher Jeremy, Prof. SB; Montemagni Camille, AGEPoly; Morais Marie-Noëlle, DSPS; Morgan Nicholas, PolyDoc

Dayer Caroline (external expert)

A broad reflection was carried out by AGEPoly with about 40 associations and student committees on the needs and measures to prevent harassment and aggression, particularly sexual, sexist and LGBTIQphobic, in the context of events organized by the associations.
The sub-working group will use this reflection to propose a matrix of concrete measures, adapted to the types of events.

Sub-groupe is composed by : Morais Marie-Noëlle, DSPS; Montemagni Camille, AGEPoly; NN (Médiacom), NN (Poliquity). Campus associations will also be included in the development of this matrix of measures.

WG Support and Accompaniment

  • Conduct a mapping of the instances and existing internal and external support measures;
  • Identify gaps in terms of entry points and appropriate support and accompaniment measures in cases of harassment for students and employees (including professors);
  • Propose measures (internal and/or external) – also pilot measures – where the persons concerned could find listening and therapy if necessary;
  • Propose, in coordination with the WG Prevention, training adapted to any person who is a potential entry point.

Le Tiec Agnès, VPT, Chair
Ariceta Ines, Coordination Cellule Respect; Becker Kristin, VPT-EGA; de Francesco Aurélie, Personne de confiance; Du Pasquier Eric, DSPS; Hess Bellwald Kathryn, AVP-SAO; Ritter Nathalie, SAE; van der Meer Marijn, Polyquity; van Hunen Jeroen, AVP-PGE-EDOC; Vonèche Cardia Isabelle, SCI-STI-DG

WG Complaints Management

  • Explain the complaint management processes;
  • Propose feedback mechanisms for complainants and defendants, with a possible pilot with people still at EPFL previously involved in complaints ( under anonymity);
  • Identify successful de-escalation measures, propose new ones.
  • Suggest improvements to the complaint management process, especially once the feedback mechanism is in place, and/or de-escalation measures to reinforce trust and support from the parties.

van der Goot Gisou, VPT (Chair)

Ariceta Ines, Coordination Cellule Respect; Bernier-Latmani Rizlan, ETH WPF (EPFL); Chardonnens Françoise, AJ; Gander Sonia, AJ; Noth Claudia, DRH

WG Sanctions

  • Make an inventory of the sanctions currently in force according to the groups (students, employees, professors, knowing that the CEPF is involved for these latter);
  • Discuss whether additional sanctioning measures would be desirable accompanied by proposals;
  • Discuss and propose support measures (internal and/or external) for the perpetrators (students and employees, including professors) of sexual harassment (and others?)

van der Goot Gisou, VPT (Chair)

Boissat Manon, AgePoly; Chardonnens Françoise, AJ; Demeuse Véronique, RH-F; George Frédéric, VPA-AJ; Guinchard Caroline, VPT (coordination support); Lambertini Luisa, AVP PGE; Ritter Nathalie, SAE; Sarkis Rita, PolyDoc

WG Information and Communication

Propose a communication plan and actions in order to :

  • Inform about the Task Force and the work in progress;
  • Raise awareness of harassment and discrimination issues within the EPFL community, reinforce the message of respect and inclusion, and encourage people to speak out and seek help;
  • Ensure that people know the entry point(s);
  • Reflect on the best way to support Task Force Harassment A-Z in the short, medium and long term.

Marendaz Colle Emmanuelle, VPT, Chair

Barraud Emmanuel, Suppl. Mediacom; Feuz Corinne, Mediacom; Füger Helene, VPT-EGA; Kolendowska Albertine, SAO; Poma Alias, Plan Queer; Thénot Lucie, Polyquity; Touzain Thibault, AGEPoly

We will regularly update this webpage to inform you about the commission’s progress. We’re looking forward to receiving your questions and comments.