Harassment Prevention CommitteeWaseda University

How Waseda Deals with Harassment


The official version of the Guidelines is written in Japanese.

The Waseda University Guidelines for Harassment Prevention

1. Basic Policy for Harassment Prevention

Waseda University (hereafter, the University) declares the adoption of protective, preventive measures against harassment of any kind involving all students, faculty, and staff members, in order to uphold their individual rights to pursue their academic study, research, and administrative goals. In order to fulfill this objective, the University will make all possible efforts to prevent various forms of harassment based on legal principles concerning human rights, and take prompt, appropriate countermeasures regarding any harassment occurring within the university community.

The University has established a consultation desk to provide counseling and support for students, faculty and staff members who have experienced harassment. In addition, the University is striving to take effective countermeasures against harassment complaints by taking definitive penal actions against aggressors, based upon a thorough investigation of the case and careful proceedings.Throughout this process, the University shall pay special attention to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of harassed individuals and other persons involved, including those responsible for supervising/instructing the harassed persons and those with a special interest in the case.

According to these guidelines, the University intends to define the term “harassment,” clarify the purposes and goals of harassment prevention, give details about the consultation desk to deal with complaints concerning harassment, delineate the procedures for handling complaints, prohibit unfair treatment against the filing of claims/complaints and other retaliative measures regarding harassment cases, secure the privacy of every person involved, announce disciplinary actions such as dismissal or discharge, and promote further harassment prevention and education via various training and educational programs.

2. Defining "Harassment"

The “harassment” referred to in our guidelines designates all actions and behavior that result in disadvantage and/or discomfort to other individuals on matters concerning their sex, social status, race, nationality, principles, age, occupation, physical features or characteristics, and/or overall character.

These guidelines deal with every form of harassment that takes improper advantage of academic, supervising, management-related positions of authority, or a continuing relationship and occurs against the will or agreement of other individuals, degrading the study/work/research activities and environment of these persons. Examples within the University system are cases of sexual harassment involving sexual behavior and remarks, academic harassment involving behavior and remarks related to academic study/education/research, and power harassment involving authority and status in the workplace.These three forms of harassment are explained more specifically below. However, the University acknowledges the importance of broadly recognizing complaints, rather than strictly adhering to these definitions.

a. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment refers to:

1) Making sexual demands and/or remarks, or forcing sexual behavior upon others, as a requirement for academic study, research, supervision, advice, employment, administration, and participation in other University-related activities;

2) Basing academic evaluations, graduation requirements, administrative promotion or salary determinations on whether such sexual demands are accepted or rejected;

3) Unfairly impeding individuals in fulfilling their work responsibilities, causing discomfort, and/or markedly degrading their academic study/research or work environment through such sexual demands/remarks/behavior.

Because sexual harassment can be manifested in a variety of forms such as physical contact, sexual violence, ogling, and dirty jokes, there may be cases in which judgment is difficult due to differences of perception or nuance.Therefore, the University should identify a pattern of specific remarks and behavior (including “gray zone” cases) that actually violate individual will, markedly degrading the study/work environment, or posing an impediment to an individual’s talents and/or other abilities.

There are two kinds of sexual harassment: “quid-pro-quo” sexual harassment, in which a person may suffer disadvantage in academic/research or work conditions due to his or her response to another individual’s sexual remarks and behavior; and “hostile environment” sexual harassment, which involves sexual remarks/behavior damaging an individual’s study/work/academic research environment.

By “sexual remarks and behavior,” the University means sexually suggestive comments and sexual behavior. Specifically, these comments include dirty jokes and teasing as well as direct questioning regarding an individual’s sexual experience. Other examples are the spreading of rumors of a sexual nature such as those suggesting that an individual has licentious habits. Women may also be sexually harassed by comments asserting that they have a large bottom or breasts. Other sexually harassing behavior includes forcing/inviting an individual to have sexual relations, displaying obscene photographs/pictures, and touching body parts.

Sexual harassment may also include harassment toward persons of the same sex, stalking, and other remarks/behavior that involve sexual discrimination.

b. Academic Harassment

This type of harassment signifies academically inappropriate remarks/behavior and guidance by a faculty member or an individual of authority within the University. Whether or not such statements/actions are intentional, they are considered harassment when taking advantage of or deviating from authoritative responsibilities and markedly interfering with or damaging a student’s motivation for study and research.

Between faculty members, a colleague with authority could harass a junior colleague by interfering with research, discriminating with regard to promotion, and/or recommending that the junior colleague quit. In the case of harassment between faculty members and graduate/undergraduate students, the supervising professor might recommend that the student withdraw from the University or repeat a year of study, refuse to offer proper academic guidance, discriminate during class instruction, prevent the student from receiving a degree, discriminate in employment counseling, and/or make unfair grading evaluations. More specifically, academic harassment involves repeated remarks/behavior that may deny the student’s character in the name of instruction/guidance, such as intentional discrimination or the setting of unfairly strict requirements for an individual concerning promotion or the awarding of an academic degree.

However, educational styles and methods as well as student impressions of academic instruction vary according to each individual, making it difficult to distinguish between actual harassment and unintentionally offensive teaching habits. Since education presupposes teacher-student communication it is necessary and essential that students have a means by which to lodge complaints regarding their teachers’ comments and/or behavior.

c. Power Harassment

This type of harassment signifies either intentional or unintentional remarks, behavior, guidance, and/or treatment by individuals of higher status, taking advantage of their authoritative positions in the workplace, or deviating from these positions that produces results that may considerably hinder an individual’s motivation to work and degrade the environment for fellow or junior colleagues. Verbal harassment includes comments like, “You are good for nothing” or “You can quit anytime; we have enough staff members to fill your place. “Other examples include harassment based on administrative authority such as public scolding, ostracizing, malicious intentional interference in promotions and/or salary increases, purposeful transferring of individuals to specific sections against their will, forcing an individual to participate in bid-rigging or other illegal activities, and not communicating necessary job-related information.

However, strict administrative guidance for the purpose of training should be distinguished from power harassment. It is also difficult to determine power harassment cases due to individual differences in impression and subtle nuances in expression. Nonetheless, emotional outbursts toward others in the name of instruction/training are unforgivable, and while some behavior may be subjectively intended for instructional and training purposes, it may go so far as to deny the individual’s character and/or lifestyle.

3. Application Range of Guidelines

These guidelines apply generally to the members of the University community, including full-time faculty, research associates, part-time faculty, full-time staff, contract employees, part-time employees and other short-term workers, graduate students, undergraduate students, pupils, non-regular students, and international students.The guidelines also apply to recognized University members such as teaching assistants, research assistants, and other persons continuously involved in the University’s education and research. Other possibilities for application include both internal and external cases of harassment that are recognized as highly detrimental to actual studying and working at the University, in which the aggressor(s)/victim(s) are faculty members, staff members, and/or regular/non-regular students of the University.

In the case of campus contractors, employees of University-affiliated companies, students of other universities, and others who do not belong to the University system, the University will strongly request that the part of the university with which such individuals are associated provide a detailed explanation of the purpose, goals, and principles of these guidelines and strictly enforce harassment prevention, as well as penalize harassment perpetrators.

4. Harassment Consultation Desk

The University will promptly respond to harassment cases by setting up a consultation desk to relieve the physical and/or psychological damage and work out solutions to individual problems related to harassment.

This consultation desk will receive all complaints and other allegations of harassment, including individual counseling, as indicated in Section 5.Those needing such assistance should contact the consultation desk by telephone, e-mail, fax, or regular mail. Please refer to the website for further details.

When any University offices such as the Office of Student Affairs, the Career Center, the Personnel Section, administrative offices of respective undergraduate/graduate schools, University libraries, the Center for International Education, or the Health Support Center receive individual consultations concerning harassment, they should immediately report the incident to the Harassment Prevention Committee and cooperate to provide an appropriate response.

Similarly, when individuals of the University faculty and administration receive a personal consultation regarding harassment, they should advise the person to present the case directly to the Harassment Prevention Committee and make the best possible efforts to solve the problem through their assistance.

5. Harassment Prevention Committee

The Harassment Prevention Committee must determine the specific care, support, and rehabilitation necessary for individual cases of harassment from a fair and neutral standpoint.The committee will classify individual cases, ranging from serious cases involving a grave impingement of human rights and/or acts of violence to subtle cases based on misunderstandings and rudeness which entail an adjustment of human relations, according to the initial interview and decide the approach for treating each case, in order to solve the problems.

Another important role for the Harassment Prevention Committee is to function as a central organization for preventing harassment in the University system, in cooperation and collaboration with external organizations, by collecting data on harassment, responding to complaints, and conducting education programs and training workshops, public surveys, and public information activities.The committee will accordingly compile brochures, provide information for the students, faculty and staff members, ascertain the current situation, and hold workshops on harassment prevention in close collaboration with related University organizations and departments.

Other responsibilities of the Harassment Prevention Committee are investigative procedures to verify the information regarding harassment, counseling to solve human relations problems, mediation to encourage voluntary settlement of complaints as well as the implementation of various disciplinary actions. In doing so, the committee will make sure to secure individual rights to make counterarguments and apologies, as well as protect the privacy of the persons concerned. The actual structure of the Harassment Prevention Committee, its members, and authority, as well as its fundamental principles, counseling, and regulation will be specified separately.

6. Procedure for Solving Individual Cases

Harassment-related disputes should be solved through agreement by the persons involved, counseling, mediation, and other adjustments of interpersonal relations taking into consideration the maintenance of continuing relationships and trust within the University. Thus, solving disputes regarding harassment presupposes certain regulatory procedures.

On the other hand, when the persons involved cannot reach an agreement in spite of such mediation and the conflict cannot be resolved, or in cases of serious harassment in which the Harassment Prevention Committee acknowledges the need for disciplinary actions, the committee may submit an investigation record to related institutions to announce the suspension, etc., of the faculty/staff member/student involved.

7. Prohibition of Unfair Treatment following Complaints and Claims

Individuals submitting complaints and/or seeking consultation for psychological and other damage due to harassment should never be threatened, put under pressure, receive retaliatory action or any other unfair treatment from the other party. If the University does not adhere to this principle, a vicious cycle of individuals with stronger power forcing those of weaker power to submit cannot be eliminated. Allowing such unfair treatment would prevent harassment victims from seeking help and support. The University has the right to take disciplinary actions when harassed individuals receive unfair treatment through statements and behavior such as threats and forced submission, complaining and/or seeking consultation with the victim. Harassment victims receiving such unfair treatment or other damages as a result of reporting an incident may also resort to civil or criminal legal action.

8. Confidentiality of Information

In the process of seeking consultation and dealing with complaints of harassment, the University representatives, counselors, faculty and staff members must protect the privacy and confidentiality of all information concerning the persons involved. Counselors, other consulting staff, and mediating representatives should strictly avoid disclosing not only personal information such as the name, address, and phone number, but also the contents of individual consultations, without good reason and the prior agreement or consent of the individual.

This rigid confidentiality requirement between clients and counselors, which is basic to building and maintaining interpersonal trust, is also essential to freedom of speech. Protecting the personal information and other confidential data of harassed persons and the alleged aggressors allows both sides to speak freely and honestly.

Therefore, the University should take maximum care to protect the privacy rights of those involved in the extremely delicate issue of responding to and resolving harassment cases.

9. Education, Training, and Consciousness-Raising Activities for Harassment Prevention

The University will make efforts to identify the causes, background, conditions, and issues of harassment and attempt to disseminate this information through education, training, investigation, public information activities, and consciousness-raising, in order to facilitate public understanding of these matters, for the purpose of preventing/eliminating harassment that impedes well-being on campus and in the study/research/working environment.

The University will publish specific policies on, and countermeasures against, all forms of harassment by including them in University newspapers, brochures, posters, and other distributed materials, as well as publishing them in the Student Handbook, manuals, and regulations for faculty/staff members and students.The University will conduct regular workshops and training programs, to educate and increase awareness on the part of the University community regarding the prevention/elimination of harassment.

In addition, the Harassment Prevention Committee will document and distribute an annual report on its activities, investigative results, case studies, and other relevant details.

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