Recently, there has been much focus in the media on sexism and abusive behaviour in various professions. This also goes for the architectural profession and Denmark’s three schools of architecture. Numerous accounts of people who have experienced sexism in the architectural profession have been collected. And several of these incidents have taken place at Aarhus School of Architecture. You can read the accounts here.
“It is our very clear opinion that there should be no room for sexism or abusive behaviour at Aarhus School of Architecture. This goes for our staff as well as for our students, both when at the school and during internships,” states the school’s Rector Torben Nielsen.
It is worth noting that the school has, so far, not received any reports of sexism or abusive behaviour. However, in a recent survey called Uddannelseszoom, conducted by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, several students did state that they have experienced offensive, rude or condescending remarks, unwanted sexual attention, or discrimination.
“It saddens me that several of our students have experienced abusive behaviour. I hope the students who have had these experiences will report them, so we can act on these incidents. The school is constantly working to ensure that we have a proper culture based on respect. But if situations involving abusive behavior still take place, we, the management, depend on people reporting these incidents in order for us to act on them”, says Torben Nielsen.
The survey, which was completed by 222 of the school’s around 700 students, for instance, shows that 3 students experienced unwanted sexual attention every month, while 6 students experienced unwanted sexual attention less frequently, and 213 students never experienced unwanted sexual attention.
“We plan to launch more studies into this at a later time. And I hope we will be able to obtain an even higher response rate next time. The higher the response rate of the survey, the more complete and nuanced a picture of the problem we get”, says Torben Nielsen.
To make the school’s policies on and processes regarding abusive behaviour more clear and transparent, you can now access the policy from this website. The policy also includes a guide for students and staff members on who they can turn to if they experience abusive behaviour.
“It is the school’s responsibility to take action when a problem is brought to our attention. At the same time, I am also aware that being exposed to abusive behaviour places you in a difficult situation. I hope that by making our policies more visible, we remove one possible obstacle to reporting incidents where people have been exposed to something that ought not occur at our school”, says Torben Nielsen.
See the school’s policy on abusive behaviour here.