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MU reiterates zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour and orders extensive investigation

Disturbing information appearing in the media regarding inappropriate conduct by teachers at the Department of Physical Education and Health Education of the Faculty of Education has prompted a strong response on the part of Masaryk University management. 

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The handling of the complaint filed in May last year will be investigated, as well as student feedback regarding all courses taught across the university from the academic year 2019/2020 onwards.

Masaryk University management has reiterated its zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour, including all cases of sexual misconduct. “The situation is clearly very serious,” said Rector Martin Bareš after ordering a university-wide investigation. “I am shocked to learn how many people are coming forward with new testimonies concerning the alleged misconduct. Such a situation is absolutely unacceptable and I will not tolerate any misconduct at our university.”

Consequently, the Rector has instructed the Deans of the individual MU faculties to carry out a review of all student feedback regarding academic courses taught from the academic year 2019/2020 to the present date. Additionally, Mr Bareš commissioned the renowned lawyer Pavel Uhl to conduct an external inquiry into the May complaint. Masaryk University’s Methodology for Handling Inappropriate Conduct is also undergoing an independent review. In order to maintain maximum integrity and impartiality of the process, the review is being carried out by Kateřina Šámalová, ombudswoman at Charles University in Prague.

“I’ve been promised that the assessment of student feedback to individual courses will be delivered to me by the end of February. We believe that student feedback can help reveal inappropriate behaviour on the part of the staff. By the end of February, I will also receive the results of the external review prepared by Pavel Uhl and ombudswoman Kateřina Šámalová,” added Mr Bareš. He stressed the importance of the role of the future university ombudsman. In this context, the Rector will resume the selection procedure for the MU ombudsman, which was suspended last week due to the media coverage of the cases at the Faculty of Education. “Recent events demonstrate to us that the university urgently needs an ombudsman,” Mr Bareš said, adding that the former Faculty of Education Dean, Associate Professor Němec, who participated in the ombudsman selection procedure has resigned from the selection committee.

The Faculty of Education also reached an agreement on termination of employment with both suspected employees. "I can confirm that neither of the two reported employees works at Masaryk University. The steps taken by myself as dean of the faculty and my team with my statutory representative, Mrs. Vaďurová, are not over. We are in fact at the beginning. We have zero tolerance of improper behaviour and sexual harrassment. We shall keep addressing this phenomenon with maximum urgency, " said Dean of the Faculty of Education Simona Koryčánková.

The management of Masaryk University continues to call on all those who have encountered inappropriate conduct in the past to come forward and contact the relevant faculty officers or the MU Students’ Advisory Services.