Why was this policy created and needed?

This policy is created with the intention of proposing ´best-practices´, guidelines, and values - through which relevant stakeholders of The African Studies Department of Vienna could follow, in order to create a departmental environment that is of a positive and agreeable nature.

This policy strives to maintain an environment in which everyone feels valued, accepted, and respected. The actions of all members of the department need to reflect this value. Any contravention of these policies will surely be to the combined detriment of the department, as affected parties will have their basic rights to dignity, safety, freedom and beliefs encroached upon. This in turn can create reasons for staff/ students to no longer associate, and furthermore this could affect the future intake of students/staff of the department.

What is the purpose of this policy?

As proposed throughout this policy dignity and safety are of upmost importance in regards to the department and its environment. The policy is not aimed at removing individuality or stifling free speech. This policy proposal is aimed at creating more accountability on the part of every member of the department. Without accountability the long-term reputation and culture of the department can be irreparably harmed, and corrupted to a point in which silence and fear prevails.

We should acknowledge as well the power dynamics that exist within environments like ours, where victims of discrimination may feel powerless to bring up instances of discrimination and harassment.

Use of Language: The department is home to a diverse set of individuals with a plethora of different lived experiences that each individual holds different to the next. In this regard, the use of language should reflect, first and foremost, respect – as well as good faith in all matters and interactions.

Harrassment: The policies further aim to strengthen the opposition to any and all forms of harassment based on sex or gender (including pregnancy and status as a transgender or transsexual person) and this is regardless of the harasser's sex or gender.