The University of Agder is organizing a seminar for the University leadership in order to try to curb bullying and harassment incidents at our institution.
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A recent research study by Professor Ingrid Lund from the centre of educational development at the University of Agder (UiA) shows that bullying prevails in higher education in Norway. She surveyed 3000 students in five different Norwegian academic institutions and found out that one out of ten students has been the victim of bullying.
UiA is organizing a seminar for leadership entitled “what do we do when over 1000 students experience bullying at UiA”? on September 26 to try to raise awareness among leaders about how to fight bullying and enhance the student environment.
“It is an alarming number about students that are the victims of bullying and we as leaders have to do something about it. The University of Agder has zero tolerance for bullying and harassment and we will do our utmost to decrease these types of incidents in our academic institution,” says rector Frank Reichert.
He adds “We are all responsible for ending this; not only here at UiA, but at all universities in Norway. We have the support from the board of the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR) to lift the issue at the next UHR conference in November.”
The University of Agder has sent a letter to the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research in June 2017 asking to put bullying high on the national agenda and make it a priority area for the years to come.
“This must become a top national priority. We simply are not fulfilling our responsibility regarding the students when we don’t make it a national priority. We need more measures than just legislative changes and we need more concrete tools for bullying prevention, just as we need clear guidelines to intervene when bullying is detected," underscores Reichert.
“Many students don’t report bullying because they lack information and knowledge about the possibility of talking about it to someone at the university. We have a job to communicate about the reporting possibilities and to strengthen further the guidelines,” he adds.
The student organization (STA), the Human Resources department as well as the study administration will take active part in the seminar.
“Bullying and harassment are not acceptable at the University of Agder. And this is the responsibility of each and every one. We need to work on competence development of the staff, provide guidelines on how to support students that are victims of bullying to make them feel secure and taken care of when reporting about such incidents,” underlines Reichert.
If you or someone you know is suffering from bullying or harassment, it is not something that should be ignored or tolerated- so please talk to someone about it. You could talk to anyone you feel comfortable discussing your concerns with such as staff member at the University, a student representative, the Institute leader or the students ombudsman.
You can also report bullying and harassment incidents online through the speak out webpage.