At the end of November 2021, Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson instigated an external review of the University's processes regarding instances of misconduct. The objective was to engage an external expert to help the University to identify areas of improvement to prevent cases of harassment, sexual harassment, victimisation and bullying in the organisation.
"We would all like Umeå University to be a safe workplace characterised by an inclusive culture of equality, diversity and equal opportunities. To make that vision a reality, we need to work continuously, and from time to time, we need to analyse our actions and procedures. We are aware that there are uncertainties about how the University handles misconduct, and it was a necessary measure to conduct this investigation at this point in time," says Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.
The independent reviewer who was appointed was Karin Röding, former director-general of the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR).
Karin Röding has written the report “Umeå University’s handling of misconduct – 32 pro-active proposals for change”. The report is now available. On Friday 8 April, she will present her investigation to students and staff in Rotundan in Universum on Campus Umeå.
Photo: Ulrika Bergfors
She began her investigation on 1 February. After nearly 60 interviews with students, staff and various people in managerial positions, as well as reviews of policy documents, systematic work procedures and structures, she has now completed and handed in her report to the Vice-Chancellor.
The report is now available to read in Swedish, and an English translation is underway and will be made available before Easter. On Friday 8 April at 11:00, Karin Röding will present her report in Rotundan in Universum on Campus Umeå. The presentation will be held in Swedish. You can also follow the event online on live.umu.se or https://vimeo.com/694781785
In the report, Karin Röding presents 32 proposals and recommendations to improve how the University handles instances of misconduct. These proposals include better support for managers and leaders, communication and information to students and staff, new and updated policy documents, and staff training.
Read the report "Umeå University's handling of misconduct – 32 pro-active proposals for change"
Karin Röding has recently presented her report to the University Management who will now initiate further work based on the suggested areas of improvement.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Heidi Hansson
Photo: Mattias Pettersson
"It hurts to know that the problems that have come to light as of late exist at our university, but I believe that this pain can be transformed into something positive," says Heidi Hansson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Equal Opportunities at Umeå University.
The University Management is particularly pleased that the report contains clear and delimited suggestions.
"The clearly defined proposals are a welcome feature of the report. This means our future initiatives can be more easily broken down into segments. We can also see that some processes have already been begun. Our next step is to analyse the suggestions and discuss how to take them further. We all need to continue working with these issues and make sure we achieve results," says Heidi Hansson.
Karin Röding presented her report to the University Management Council earlier this week, and on Friday she will give a presentation for students and staff. On 20 April, she will present the report to the University Board. The report will also be a topic at meetings with the faculty leadership and student union representatives, the staff unions and when the University Management meets heads of department and staff this spring.
"The report, and all its proposed improvements, is a welcome contribution and an energy boost for our work. We must untiringly work together to build a safe, secure and inclusive environment for studies and work at Umeå University," says Heidi Hansson.