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Reply — The experiences of a student on the University of Copenhagen's summer programme show that we must constantly discuss how our values are manifested and perceived.
At the Faculty of Social Sciences, we strive to strengthen student well-being and ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all our students. We insist on respect and inclusion, just as we insist on debate and dialogue.
When students – like this international student on the University of Copenhagen’s Summer Programme – have the experience that they are not being met with respect, and do not feel included, we take it seriously. At the same time, the specific circumstances in the interactions between a teacher and a student cannot and should not be dealt with via opinion pieces. This specific inquiry has therefore been handled in the faculty’s formal systems.
At the faculty, just like at the rest of the University of Copenhagen, we have clear policies on how we handle inquiries about experiences of discrimination. The policies provide guidance and case management to student counsellors and heads of studies. These policies have been followed in this case also. It seems, however, that there is uncertainty about where to go if you need help. We are of course aware of this and will follow up on it.
If students feel that an issue cannot be resolved through direct dialogue at the first point of contact there is student counselling at the faculty. Students can also contact the university’s student ambassador.
Over the past 18 months, all the faculty’s departments have participated in what we call ‘Project Dignity’, where we discuss habits, norms, and study and collaboration relationships to create a more inclusive academic environment. It has led to written guidelines on how we deal with each other.
‘Project Dignity’ started a debate which is far from over. Experiences such as those that have been described by this student show that we must constantly discuss how our values are manifested and experienced.