Professor Michelle Ryan

Safeguards

Complaints of harassment will be managed with confidentiality and sensitivity, respecting the University’s duty of care to both the individual(s) making the complaint and the subject of the complaint.

Investigations and disciplinary procedures will be dealt with in a confidential manner to respect the privacy of all parties and to ensure the matter is dealt with sensitively and effectively. Any breach of confidentiality may result in disciplinary action against those concerned.

Exceptional cases

In exceptional cases, where the University becomes aware of concerns of very serious harassment, the University may investigate the situation in accordance with its duty of care to ensure the safety of all staff and students who may be affected by the alleged behaviour, even if an individual decides not to make a formal complaint.

Protection from victimisation

Individuals are protected from victimisation as a result of bringing a complaint under this policy. If an employee or student feels that they have suffered a detriment following a complaint, they should report their concerns to the Personal Representatives to the Vice-Chancellor (see below). Where it is found that victimisation has occurred, this will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.

If a complaint is found to be mischievous or malicious, it may be necessary for the appropriate disciplinary procedure to be applied.

Duty of care

The University has a duty of care to both the individual alleging harassment and the alleged harasser. An allegation cannot be presumed proved until properly investigated and tested against the principle of reasonableness. There may be occasions where there are no witnesses to an incident of alleged harassment and it is one individual’s word against another. Where this is the case, the balance of probability will be taken into account.

Personal Representatives to the Vice-Chancellor

Professor Michelle Ryan has been appointed as Personal Representative to the Vice-Chancellor as a final safeguard in the event that any of the support or procedures available to staff and students fail to resolve issues satisfactorily. If, after contacting a Dignity and Respect Advisor, you wish to seek further advice, you can contact Professor Ryan (M.Ryan@exeter.ac.uk).