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AUC in Action

From SpeakUp to training and policy, AUC’s institutional efforts are multifaceted

By Reem Abouemera

“At AUC, we think of ourselves as progressive, and we don’t shy away from
problems — we welcome them,” says President Francis Ricciardone on the role of leading higher education institutions in raising awareness of sexual harassment.

AUC has long been committed to maintaining a learning and working environment free from all forms of harassment and discrimination, enforcing a rigid zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. To that end, it has been implementing University-wide initiatives to reinforce its legacy of equity, inclusiveness and a safe campus.

AUC’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy

AUC’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy adopts an Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy that prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment based on sex, gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, gender identity or expression, or any other protected, characteristic under Egyptian law. The Egyptian Constitution guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination based on religion, belief, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political or geographic affiliation, or any other reason.

An excerpt from AUC’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy

AUC’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy AUC adopts an Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy that prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment based on sex, gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, gender identity or expression, or any other protected characteristic under Egyptian law. The Egyptian Constitution guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination based on religion, belief, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political or geographic affiliation, or any other reason.

Founding Member of Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education

AUC is a founding member and the only institution outside of the United States that is part of Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. The collaborative brings together leaders from more than 60 academic and research institutions to “work toward and share targeted, collective action on addressing and preventing sexual harassment across all disciplines and among all people in higher education.”

Action Collaborative members “identify, research, develop and implement efforts that go beyond basic legal compliance to evidence-based policies and practices for addressing and preventing all forms of sexual harassment and promoting a campus climate of civility and respect.”

New Office of Institutional Equity

To safeguard its community, AUC established the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) to handle sexual harassment and discrimination allegations from students, faculty, staff, alumni and campus visitors. The office reinforces and underpins AUC’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy, abiding by Egyptian laws and strengthening AUC’s reporting channels.

OIE educates and acquaints the AUC community with the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy for sexual misconduct and harassment on and off campus; receives allegations of policy violations; investigates, recommends and implements decisions in accordance with the policy; and directs individuals to available campus resources, including medical and counseling services, academic support and other assistance as needed. It is the principal point of contact for any
harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct complaints.

Anonymous complaints of alleged violations can be reported through different channels, including two online reporting systems, one-on-one meetings or by emailing OIE at equity@aucegypt.edu. The University assures that information about cases remains confidential and is only shared on a need-to-know basis. “The Office of Institutional Equity is the hub for receiving complaints from the entire AUC community related to allegations of harassment and discrimination,” says Reem El-Mograby ’09, director and Title IX coordinator at the Office of Institutional Equity, when the office was established. “We want to promote a safe
campus for all.”

AUCSpeakUp: Stand – Prevent – Empower – Act – Know

AUC continues to play a role in raising awareness of sexual harassment by supporting national efforts, in particular as they relate to college campuses. The University launched the #AUCSpeakUp initiative to raise awareness of the issue
inside and outside AUC through a number of measures.

AUC’s SpeakUp pillars include standing together as a community against any form of harassment and discrimination, preventing harassment and protecting the confidentiality of those who come forward, empowering all members of our community through a culture of equity and inclusion, being accountable for our own actions and reporting any observed policy violations, and knowing AUC’s
policy and sharing responsibility for raising awareness among the entire AUC community.

Mandatory Anti-Sexual Harassment Training

To ensure the AUC community’s full understanding of the University’s shared values of respect, diversity and equity, AUC is the first University in Egypt to introduce mandatory anti-sexual harassment training for every member of its
community, including the president and senior leadership across the board; online training for students, faculty and staff; and Arabic training on campus for Arabic-speaking community members.

The training provides an overview of AUC’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy and is part of the University’s comprehensive program to address and prevent sexual harassment within the AUC community and beyond. The training conveys every individual’s role and responsibility for reporting incidents of harassment or discrimination.

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