The academic community of the University of Warsaw is diverse. The safety and wellbeing of its members are essential. UW aims to build an environment free from any form of unequal treatment. People studying and working at UW can seek psychological and legal support offered by the university.
The University of Warsaw is a place where there is no room for any kinds of discrimination. UW strives to build friendly, peaceful, and safe surrounding, where everyone, regardless of their nationality, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and religion, will feel comfortable.
There are various institutions at UW whose task is to support those who experienced any form of discrimination or unequal treatment. Dr. Anna Cybulko, the University of Warsaw Ombudsman, plays a significant role. The Ombudsman is a fully independent and neutral university officer to whom students, academic and administrative staff may turn for assistance as they experience difficulties in their academic life.
The Ombudsman can serve as a mediator, help to clarify the reported case, intervene in a given unit or suggest a recommendation to introduce system changes. In some cases, the Ombudsman takes disciplinary actions and reports them to other bodies or committees. Every case is individual, treated with honesty and fairness.
The Academic Ombudsman accepts reports in person, by e-mail or telephone. The Ombudsman’s intervention in a particular case follows the Ombudsman’s meeting and the written consent of a person who reports.
The Ombudsman offers:
- Direct support for a person experiencing discrimination,
- Information on available psychological help, redirection to the Psychological Assistance Centre if necessary,
- Contact with a faculty / relevant academic unit and assistance in obtaining organisational support,
- Educational activities towards the perpetrator, e.g. direct explanatory and educational conversation, conversation with the perpetrator’s superiors, recommendation to participate in anti-discrimination training/workshops.
- Disciplining actions against the perpetrator – written signal to the supervisor, recommendation to initiate a formal complaint procedure.
Since 2016, there is the Equal Opportunity Chief Specialist at the University, engaged in anti-discrimination policy, equal treatment, and diversity at our University. This person takes steps to respect and implement equal treatment and to prevent discrimination.
The anti-discrimination procedure at the University of Warsaw defines rules for counteracting manifestations of discrimination, including sexual harassment and how to tackle cases of discrimination at the University of Warsaw. View the full text of the Antidiscrimination Procedure (pdf).
The procedure aims to support actions against discrimination, protect members of the UW community, and support people who have experienced discrimination.
The Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Anti-Discrimination Coordinator, whose tasks include receiving and investigating complaints about discrimination, collecting data on its manifestations and collecting information on good practices related to anti-discrimination, are responsible for counteracting discrimination and its consequences at the University of Warsaw.
The Anti-discrimination committee and the Anti-discrimination Coordinator cooperate with the Ombudsman and the Equality Specialist at the University.
Contact to the Anti-discrimination coordinator: rownouprawnienie(at)uw.edu.pl
Contact to the Ombudsman: ombudsman(at)uw.edu.pl
Reporting the cases of sexual harassment
UW treats all reports regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence seriously. In the autumn of 2020, three such cases were reported to the disciplinary officer. We want to stress that people who have experienced sexual violence will be heard as a UW’s priority is to ensure a safe work and study environment, free from sexual harassment and violence.
Victims should make independent and individual decisions to report the case. At the same time, unit authorities cannot be encouraged to take preventive actions based on unconfirmed information or rumours.
Counteracting sexual violence
UW strives to counteract various forms of violence by conducting broadly understood educational activities. Those who work and study at UW are offered an online Course for Equality in Polish and English, workshops on shaping equality attitudes as part of university-wide classes. In October, together with the University of Warsaw Student Council, an anti-discrimination event was organised.
In April, the University of Warsaw Guide: Counteracting sexual harassment will be out. It will include some recommendations regarding the diagnosis of sexual harassment, explicit consent, possible actions to be taken by victims and witnesses, and information on emotional and intimate relationships between people from the UW community.
All those activities aim to raise awareness about discrimination and sexual harassment, encourage victims to contact relevant institutions, and report their cases.
Legal support at UW
- University of Warsaw Law Clinic – Student Legal Aid Centre
The Law Clinic is an institution that operates at the UW Faculty of Law and Administration. It provides free of charge legal advice on a wide range of legal areas (e.g. labour law, civil law, criminal law, medical law, etc.), including assistance to victims experiencing violence and discrimination. Anyone who has experienced unequal and discriminatory treatment has the right to turn to the Clinic, where students under the guidance of a lecturer provide help. More information >>
- Academic Legal Counselling
The Academic Legal Counselling is an institution providing free of charge legal aid to students, including those who have experienced unequal treatment, become victims of harassment, mobbing, or their rights have been violated in any other way. Individuals who provide counselling in the unit are students in the last years of their studies, graduates and doctoral candidates of the UW Faculty of Law and Administration. More information >>
- Centre for Disputes and Conflict Resolution at the UW Faculty of Law and Administration
The Centre promotes amicable conflict resolution, to which anyone who has experienced discrimination, violence or unequal treatment may resort. One of the objectives pursued and disseminated by the Centre is to strengthen respect for human rights, tolerance and acceptance, and to promote modern ways of resolving conflicts. More information >>
The UW Psychological Counselling Centre (CPP) is a unit that offers UW students and employees help and support. Individual counselling and walk-in-clinic interventions take place online. The day before a scheduled appointment, a person will receive an email from a therapist, including instructions regarding a way of contact: Skype or Google Meet. More information >>