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Faculty of Education will review course feedback going back to 2012/2013

Masaryk University has taken further steps regarding the situation at the Faculty of Education.

The widely reported cases of inappropriate behaviour by some teachers at the Faculty of Education’s Department of Physical Education and Health Education have resulted in further specific steps being taken. A third implicated staff member from the department will be suspended from teaching until his case is properly investigated, following a complaint received by the Faculty’s contact person for reporting cases of misconduct.

Investigations into cases of inappropriate conduct by some teachers at the Faculty of Education are ongoing. Following the termination of two members of the Faculty suspected of sexual harassment, another teacher from the Department of Physical Education and Health Education was suspended from teaching and will not come into further contact with students until the case is investigated.

“We have declared a policy of zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour, especially one with sexual overtones. That is why we are proceeding quickly and decisively to ensure that all complaints and reports are properly investigated. We want to be a responsible, healthy and friendly faculty and we will do our utmost to make sure that both students and applicants know that they will study in a safe environment,” said Simona Koryčánková, Dean of the MU Faculty of Education.

The Faculty of Education is also working hard to ensure that the teaching of all courses at the relevant department can continue unimpeded in the spring semester. In connection with the currently investigated cases of misconduct on the part of the academic staff, the Rector of Masaryk University, Martin Bareš, asked the Dean of the Faculty of Education to consider making changes in the internal organisation of the Faculty aimed at minimising the likelihood that similar behaviour will appear in the future. She was also asked to re-examine the course feedback forms submitted by students in the period from the academic year 2012/2013 onwards.

“I believe this is necessary, considering the media reports and student testimonies suggesting that these things were happening for quite a long time. For this reason, I will also ask Masaryk University’s Board of Internal Evaluation to review the curriculum and assess the necessity of certain specific courses where inappropriate patterns of behaviour or undesirable stereotypes tended to occur,” said Rector Martin Bareš, adding that he had also asked Dean Simona Koryčánková to provide minutes of the meetings of the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Education where agenda related to sexual harassment, protection of rights and similar were discussed.

The management of the Faculty of Education is taking measures to ensure that similar cases of misconduct will not happen in the future. Already next week, meetings with students will be held with the participation of a facilitator so that the faculty obtains more feedback from the students. Teaching staff training and a series of workshops are also planned to make sure everyone is aware of what inappropriate behaviour/sexual harassment is and how to defend against it. Meetings and interactions with students need to be frequent and open, believes Dean Koryčánková.

“My goal is to establish a fair and open environment and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve that objective. I call it the open door and phone approach. Each student has the opportunity to call me directly and if they want to meet with me in person, I’ll see them at the earliest opportunity and talk to them face to face. I want everyone to know that besides the people from the MU Students’ Advisory Services centre, they can contact me personally as well. I want to assure them that even the most senior member of the Faculty’s management is here for them and will take their needs seriously,” concluded Dean Simona Koryčánková.