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UNICAMP discusses gender discrimination and sexual violence

Luana GeigerA working group formed to propose a policy for combatting gender discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) will continue discussing the results of nine months of work until the end of July. Debates on the topic are planned at a number of the university campuses and shall involve many of the institution’s collective bodies.

Created by the dean, Marcelo Knobel, in September 2017 and presided over by Ana Maria Fonseca de Almeida, a professor at the School of Education, the working group will present the three components of the policy that it considers most important to addressing the issue, as follows: the institution should take a clear zero-tolerance approach to gender discrimination and sexual violence; it should implement a process for receiving and dealing with complaints; and it should develop a university-wide training program to spread awareness.

The proposal, which was drafted jointly by students, professors, and other staff, recommends creating an advisory committee on gender discrimination and sexual violence policy, as well as a sexual violence support department that would be responsible not only for dealing with complaints and reports of sexual violence, but also for offering support to the victims. “This is an extremely important issue,” says Almeida. “We are committed to promoting a broad debate on the subject within the university in order to establish a robust set of protocols,” she explains.

The issue of gender discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence is an integral part of a group of policies being implemented by the current leadership to promote a sense of community at the institution. In 2018, the Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies provided all new students with a brochure specifically designed to address the topic, which included information on online sexual harassment and guidance on how to report cases of sexual assault, giving details of emergency services available on campus in Barão Geraldo (Campinas), and Limeira.

At the beginning of June, the working group presented the University Council (CONSU) with a report on its activities, its proposal for establishing an advisory committee and a support department, and a draft version of the rules and procedures to be validated by these bodies. The university’s highest decision-making body will analyze the recommendations at the next board meeting, scheduled to take place in August.

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