Unacceptable Behaviour

The University of Adelaide recognises that honesty, integrity, respect, fairness, and embracing differences are fundamental to achieving the advancement of learning and knowledge.

Through the Equal Opportunity Policy the University seeks to promote an inclusive, respectful and fair environment for all people whilst engaged in University-related activities.

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  • Harassment

    What is sexual harassment?

    The Equal Opportunity Act (1984) defines what constitutes sexual harassment.  Under the Act:

    A person sexually harasses another (the person harassed) if:

    1. the person makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the person harassed; or
    2. engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed,

    in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated 

    The Equal Opportunity Commission website provides some helpful information and examples:

    Sexual harassment means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, where it is reasonable to expect that the other person would be offended, afraid or humiliated. Both men and women can sexually harass and be harassed by either sex.

    Sexual harassment is determined from the point of view of the person feeling harassed. It does not matter how the behaviour was intended. What matters is its effect on the other person. Sexual harassment can be:

    • unwelcome touching or kissing
    • commenting on a person's appearance
    • comments, jokes or name-calling
    • leering or staring
    • sexual pictures, objects, emails, text messages or literature
    • direct or implied propositions, or requests for dates
    • asking about a person's sexual history or sexual activities.

    Mutual attraction or friendship with consent is not sexual harassment.

    What can you do if you feel you have been harassed?

    Sometimes people who have been harassed can feel unsure about talking to others, but taking action may stop the harassment. The University wants our students to be safe, and encourages you to report harassment.

    Report an incident

    This process can often be daunting, so accessing support from the University of Adelaide Counselling Support or Student Care can be a good first step. They can assist you to make a report to the University, or to have a confidential discussion about this process.

  • Discrimination

    What is discrimination?

    Discrimination is treating or proposing to treat, an individual unfavourably because of their particular personal characteristics (e.g. ethnicity, place of origin, language and culture) or because they belong to a certain group (e.g. socio-economic status).

    Discrimination can be direct or indirect:

    • Direct discrimination can occur when a person or group is treated less favourably than another person or group in a similar situation, because of a particular characteristic.
    • Indirect discrimination involves imposing a requirement, condition or practice that operates to disadvantage a person or group with a particular characteristic, and that is not reasonable.

    Unlawful Discrimination includes unfair treatment of a person in areas of public life on the basis of the following characteristics: age, association with a child, caring responsibilities, gender identity, disability, marital or domestic partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, religious appearance or dress (in work or study), sex, sexual orientation, or spouse or domestic partner's identity. 

    What can you do if you feel you have experienced discrimination?

    Sometimes people who have experienced discrimination can feel unsure about talking to others, but taking action may stop the discrimination. The University wants our students to be safe, and encourages you to report discrimination.

    Report an incident

    This process can often be daunting, so accessing support from the University of Adelaide Counselling Support or Student Care can be a good first step. They can assist you to make a report to the University, or to have a confidential discussion about this process.

  • Bullying

    What is bullying?

    Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless.

    The sort of repeated behaviour that can be considered bullying includes:

    • Keeping someone out of a group (online or offline)
    • Acting in an unpleasant way near or towards someone
    • Giving nasty looks, making rude gestures, calling names, being rude and impolite, and constantly negative teasing.
    • Spreading rumours or lies, or misrepresenting someone (i.e. using their Facebook account to post messages as if it were them)
    • Mucking about that goes too far
    • Intentionally stalking someone

    Definition from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

    What can you do if you feel you have been bullied?

    Sometimes people who have been bullied can feel unsure about talking to others, but taking action may stop the bullying. The University wants our students to be safe, and encourages you to report bullying. Everyone has the right to study in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. The University takes a strong stance against this behaviour in the learning environment.

    Report an incident

    This process can often be daunting, so accessing support from the University of Adelaide Counselling Support or Student Care can be a good first step. They can assist you to make a report to the University, or to have a confidential discussion about this process.

  • Victimisation

    What is victimisation?

    Victimisation is unfairly treating people for complaining, helping others to complain, either within the University, to the Equal Opportunity Commission or another external agency. Unlawful victimisation is unfair treatment for complaints about discrimination or  harassment.

    What can you do if you feel you have experienced victimisation?

    Sometimes people who have been victimised can feel unsure about talking to others, but taking action may stop the victimisation. The University wants our students to be safe, and encourages you to report victimisation.

    Report an incident

    This process can often be daunting, so accessing support from the University of Adelaide Counselling Support or Student Care can be a good first step. They can assist you to make a report to the University, or to have a confidential discussion about this process.

  • Racism

    What is Racism?

    Racism takes many forms and happens in many places. It divides people into “us” and “them” based on the colour of our skin, the cultures we practice or where we come from. It takes the form of prejudice, discrimination or hatred toward individuals or groups of people.

    People often think of racism as acts of abuse or harassment. However, it doesn’t need to involve violent or intimidating behaviour. Racism is present when people make “jokes” or offensive comments on the basis of race; when they exclude others for being “different”; or make assumptions based on racial stereotypes.

    Racism can be revealed through people’s actions as well as their attitudes. It can also be reflected in systems and institutions where invisible barriers, big and small, work to prevent people from doing as well in life as others simply because of their difference or cultural background. Racism can be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional, conscious or unconscious. It impacts on the mental health of individuals and can threaten the social cohesion of communities.

    What can you do if you feel you have experienced racism?

    Sometimes people who have experienced racism can feel unsure about talking to others, but taking action may stop the racist behaviour. The University wants our students to be safe, and encourages you to report racism. Everyone has the right to study in an environment free from racism, bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. The University takes a strong stance against racist behaviour in the learning environment.

    Report an incident

    This process can often be daunting, so accessing support from the University of Adelaide Counselling Support or Student Care  can be a good first step. They can assist you to make a report to the University, or to have a confidential discussion about this process.

    What to do as a Bystander:

    Increase your awareness

    • Notice and be sensitive to and welcoming of racial, ethnic, religious and/or cultural groups other than your own.
    • Challenge your assumptions about people of different backgrounds.
    • Ask questions to increase your understanding of another person's experiences and point of view.
    • Be conscious of racist attitudes, language, and stereotypes.
    • Recognise the need to take personal responsibility for eliminating racism.
    • Be aware that silence condones racist behaviour.
    • Learn about the impact of racism and racial vilification on members of our community, both in historical and contemporary times.
    • Educate yourself. Participate in workshops and cultural training provided by Wirltu Yarlu or book an appointment with a Kaurna Cultural Advisor

    Take action

    • Offer support if you witness someone being the target of racist behaviour.
    • Speak up against racist comments or jokes.
    • Challenge others’ negative assumptions about people of different backgrounds.
    • Ensure that application forms and interview questions ask for skills and experiences directly related to the job requirements and don’t reflect cultural bias.
    • Model inclusive and respectful language and behaviour.
    • Promote mutual respect between individuals who come from different cultural backgrounds.
    • Create learning environments that include the perspectives and experiences of diverse cultural groups.
    • Examine your teaching materials and assess the inclusiveness and diversity of their content.
    • Celebrate cultural diversity at relevant campus events.
    • Provide genuine opportunities for staff and students to learn from their colleagues and peers.

    Become a champion of anti-racism

    • Recognise and challenge institutional barriers that prevent members of underrepresented or marginalised groups from having equal access to power and authority.
    • Recognise and challenge ways institutional barriers maintain the power of members of the dominant group.
    • Support and engage in research and initiatives that empower underrepresented or marginalised groups.
    • Set up mentoring programs for underrepresented or marginalised groups – students and employees – to encourage them to succeed.
    • Set up discussion groups to explore ways to address racism and/or cultural exclusion.
    • Use both personal and organisational power to challenge institutional racism

    Report an incident involving Racism

    Bystanders are also encouraged to report racism. If you witness racist behaviour, there are lots of things you can do to help. As a bystander, you may be able to stop a racist incident, prevent it from escalating, and potentially prevent or minimise social or emotional harm to the targeted person or group.

    Report an incident