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The UvA wants to provide a safe environment where employees and students can be themselves and develop themselves, meet others and work together. A place where there is no room for discrimination, bullying, aggression, exclusion or intimidation. Although fortunately students and staff members generally experience it as such, undesirable behaviour does occur. It is important to us that students and staff members know that there are possibilities to talk about experiences, to ask for help in finding a solution or to make reports and complaints known.

Do you need help or support?

Do you know what you can do when you see or experience undesirable behaviour?

If you experience undesirable behaviour or see it happening you do not have to deal with this on your own. You can contact one of the UvA's confidential advisers for staff or students. They can provide advice and support and refer you to care providers within or outside the university. In the social safety support guide you can find an overview of the different individuals and institutions you can turn to for support. You can also take a look at our list of courses, workshops and other resources relating to social safety.

  • 'That group is so overbearing.'

  • 'I’m afraid to complain to my supervisor.'

  • 'Sometimes, evaluations say: “this teacher is really incompetent.”'

  • 'Sexually tinted photos of me are being passed around.'

Recognise this?

In our code of conduct we describe undesirable behaviour as 'any situation where at least one person involved may reasonably feel that the behaviour is unacceptable.' It can start with seemingly small behaviours, like recurring jokes or comments, unneccesary bodily contact or downplaying someone's feeling of unease.

The quotes represent recognisable situations in which people experience undesirable behaviour or feel unsafe at universities. Input for the quotes was collected from interviews with staff and students, from research, in collaboration with the UvA panel and from various external reports. 

  • 'They keep bringing up my background'

  • 'As a PhD student I don’t always feel free to voice my opinion.'

  • 'Those constant "jokes" about the fact that I’m gay.'

  • 'He always stands just a little bit too close to me.'

Looking out for each other

As President of the UvA's Executive Board Geert ten Dam says in this video we would all prefer that nobody has to experience undesirable behaviour, but unfortunately it does happen. That's why it is important that you know what you can do in such a situation and where you can find help and support.

Geert ten Dam on social safety

E-learning module

Everyone can contribute to social safety. In this online module you can learn about unsafe situations and undesirable behaviour, as well as how, where and with whom you can discuss these at the UvA.