KU Leuven: KU Leuven receives writers’ open letter about transgressive behaviour

This afternoon, Rector Luc Sels and Vice Rector of Biomedical Sciences Chris Van Geet received a delegation of concerned colleagues in the presence of Dean Filip Staes of the Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences. They presented the rector with an open letter in which they draw attention to the prevention, remediation and disciplinary follow-up of transgressive behavior at the university. The letter was prompted by the recent Pano report in which a case at the Faculty of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences was discussed.

“I share the concern of the signatories and their commitment to our university. Their action and our conversation show that there is still work to be done, but also strengthen my conviction that we are taking the right steps. †

Rector Luc Sels

Rector Sels did not wait for the next case to announce a whole series of actions, but already on February 18, 2022 , before the Pano report, he set out to take next steps in the short term and tackle remaining pain points.

In the meeting with the delegation, the rector gave an update today: “We are currently taking concrete steps. There will be an external review of our procedures. In the meantime, we are also working on the new order and disciplinary regulations for ZAP members. In addition, managers will be further strengthened through training in their specific role in the prevention, timely identification and follow-up of transgressive behaviour.”

Anyone who is confronted with or witnesses transgressive behavior at KU Leuven can contact the extensive network of confidential counselors and ombudspersons . There is a Central Reporting Center for transgressive behaviour. Staff members can already report cross-border behavior via an external hotline. “In addition to the concrete steps that we are taking on policy level, we must all consciously work together on a culture of openness and trust, by adopting a collegial and humane attitude, supporting each other and daring to give feedback, also on moments when (fellow) students and colleagues go too far. For many, making this a topic for discussion is a first step, as we notice, for example, due to the increasing number of questions about bystander training sessions.”

As indicated, the university is also open to a discussion about an external hotline, which supplements the existing internal and external network. “I have no problem with thinking along about an external hotline at Flemish level”, says Rector Sels, “but it must be complementary to what we already have and must not relieve us of our duty to inform the university within the now chosen path to continue

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