Survey on harassment, violence and discrimination

In the spring 2021 semester, members of the EPFL community (students, doctoral students, scientific, administrative and technical staffs, teachers) are being asked to complete a survey on harassment, violence and discrimination.

Planning for this survey began in 2020. It now comes under the responsibility of the Task Force Harassment A-Z & Promoting a Culture of Respect, which was set up by the Vice Presidency for Responsible Transformation (VPT). The results will help the School to develop a clear, consistent and coordinated policy for preventing harassment and risk behaviors, for providing effective support, and for improving if necessary the handling of reported incidents.

Based on the findings, the School may need to take further steps to tackle harassment, violence and discrimination. Every participation is valuable as the information provided will help the School update its procedures and make EPFL a place where everyone is safe and treated with kindness and respect.

  1. While members of the EPFL community are under no obligation to take part in the surveys, participation is strongly encouraged in order to produce the most representative picture possible.
  2. The Center for Primary Care and Public Health (Unisanté) at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) will conduct the two surveys and collect the data on EPFL’s behalf.
  3. Unisanté will anonymize the data before forwarding them to EPFL. No personal information will be shared with the School.
  4. Data will then be analyzed at the EPFL Teaching Support Center in the summer of 2021.
  5. These results will complement the ongoing reflections of the Harassment Task Force, which will be in charge of proposing new measures for prevention, support and follow-up of cases by the beginning of the academic year 2021.
  6. The survey will also be repeated periodically in order to understand how the situation is evolving.
  7. A report on the results of the survey will be available to the EPFL community once the analysis is completed.
  • The survey is anonymous. Unisanté will treat respondents’ information in strict confidence and will never link their names or email addresses to their answers.
  • Unisanté will review respondents’ free-response answers to make sure they do not contain identifiable information on specific people.
  • Any identifying information from respondents’ devices will be deleted before their data reaches EPFL.
  • The file containing respondents’ email addresses will be destroyed at the end of the data-collection stage, along with any variables that could be used to identify a respondent by name.
  • Unisanté will retain the raw data on its server for 10 years or until EPFL requests that the data be deleted, whichever comes first.

The topics covered by the surveys were discussed and approved by the EPFL working group and steering committee (PDF), whose members include subject-matter experts and representatives from each of the School’s governance bodies. The questionnaires are based on tried-and-tested survey instruments, which were adapted to make them suitable for the EPFL community.