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, 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. 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

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; Lecoeur Clément, AgePoly; Poma Alias, Plan Queer; Thénot Lucie, Polyquity

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