HAW Hamburg is committed to fighting discrimination and ensuring that we are a fair and inclusive university. A respectful approach in conflict situations is important to us.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination is the unequal treatment and discrimination against groups or individuals on the basis of particular characteristics (e.g. gender, age, skin colour).
Every form of disadvantage, disregard, disparagement, disdain, exclusion or unequal treatment of individuals or groups based on actual or ascribed group-specific characteristics is discriminatory (direct discrimination). Even seemingly neutral behaviours, rules and regulations that apply to everyone can sometimes have discriminatory impacts on certain groups in practice (indirect discrimination). When the adjustments and changes necessary for people with disabilities to exercise their human rights are withheld, this also constitutes discrimination.
The decisive factor for discrimination is the outcome, not the motive (intention, thoughtlessnes, general administrative practice, etc.).
Discrimination on the following grounds is forbidden at HAW Hamburg:
- Ethnic background, citizenship and racist ascriptions
- Gender identity (including trans and intersex individuals)
- Religion and worldview
- Disability and chronic illness
- Sexual orientation
- Social origin or social status
- Family status
- Appearance (e.g. weight, language, clothing, style)
Discrimination is not always based on just one (actual or ascribed) characteristic, but instead on the intersection of various grounds (e.g. racist ascriptions and religion).
What is harassment and violence?
Harassment is a behaviour that takes place without the mutual agreement of the people involved.
Violence includes threats, coercion and rape.
Harassment occurs when unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the person impacted. This occurs particularly when an environment characterised by intimidation, hostility, humiliation, degradation and insults exists (sexual harassment).
Specific forms of harassment and violence
Bullying refers to the targeted and repeated hostile treatment, harassment, annoyance and exclusion of a single person within a group by the other group members (e.g. schoolmates, colleagues, fellow students). The goal of bullying is often to humiliate the person impacted and make them feel insecure.
Bullying can take the form of the following verbal, nonverbal and physical actions, among others:
- Systematic withholding of and refusal to provide information and contacts relevant to studies and work
- Exclusion from conversations
- Assignment of meaningless, insulting, unsolvable, unhealthy tasks, or no tasks at all, by people with leadership or supervisory responsibilities
- Insults, offensive and humiliating treatment
- Humiliation in front of others
- Intentional generation of stress
- Raising of doubts about or allegations of illness
- Minor physical aggressions to direct violence
- Spreading of rumours
These actions often manifest in small events. They are considered bullying when they occur repeatedly and over a long period of time.
Sexualised and sexist harassment and violence are forms of discrimination that are particularly related to the actual or ascribed gender of the person targeted. They refer to every sexual or sexualised behaviour that is not welcome and is perceived as assault by the person impacted.
Sexualised and sexist harassment and violence include the following verbal, nonverbal and physical actions, among others:
- Posting, distribution or displaying of images with sexist content (e.g. posters, screensavers, calendars, software, educational content)
- Sexist graffiti on campus
- Copying, application and/or use of computer data with pornographic content on university computers and computer systems
- Use of sexist forms of address
- Offensive statements
- Unwanted verbal sexual advances
- Sexually suggestive remarks, statements, jokes and comments about other people, their appearance, their behaviour or their bodies
- Unwanted and unnecessary physical contact
- Requests to perform sexual acts
- Threats of violence, persecution and coercion as well as physical assault and rape
Racist harassment and violence refers to discrimination that is particularly based on the targeted person's actual or assumed origin and/or on racist assumptions. This form of discrimination includes the following verbal, nonverbal and physical actions, among others:
- Posting, distribution and displaying of images with racist content (e.g. posters, screensavers, calendars, softward, educational content)
- Racist graffiti on campus
- Copying, application and/or use of computer data with racist content on university computers and computer systems
- Racist forms of address
- Racist remarks, statements, jokes and comments about other people, their appearance, their behaviour or their bodies
- Threats of violence
- Persecution, coercion and physical assault
'Stalking' refers to the intentional and repeated following, pestering and harassment of a person so that their lifestyle is seriously impaired or their safety is even threatened. Stalking manifests in a diverse range of actions:
- (Inappropriate) phone calls, text messages, voicemail messages, and emails – at all times of the day and night
- Unwanted 'gestures of love' such as love letters, flowers and gifts
- Ordering of products in the name of the person being stalked
- A (threatening) presence as well as following and ambushing – for example, in front of the person's home, workplace or the supermarket
- The making of falsh accusations about the person being stalked – for example, to their employer, the department administration, the instructors, the student representatives, among others
- Questioning of the person's circle of acquaintances
- Damange to property
- Insults, slander
- Threats, coercion
The stalker seldom feels that they are in the wrong and thinks that their own behaviour is legitimate. Often they cannot clearly distinguish between fantasy and reality.