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Code of Conduct and resources for students

This Institute of Philosophy Code of Conduct is a supplement to the Leiden University Code of Conduct on Standards of Behaviour Between Lecturers and Students and the Code of Conduct Remote Teaching – Online Classroom Participation. As such, it counts as an elaboration on what “proper behaviour” is in an academic environment.

A.    Preamble:
As students, you have come to our University and at the Programme to increase your knowledge of the world, your ability for independent thinking and your critical skills. Conversations and debates are essential elements of this project. We introduce this Code of Conduct to emphasise that you are in an adult, professional and academic environment, and that this comes with responsibilities and protections. We expect everyone to approach each other in a respectful manner, whether in face-to-face meetings, group meetings, in class as well as online. A safe and welcoming academic
 environment is a responsibility, and a right, of all. The Programme and the Institute are committed to ensuring that you and all other students feel safe and protected at all points of your studies. This also means that all students and staff have a role and responsibility in achieving and fostering a safe and inclusive learning environment. 

Academic Freedom: Freedom of speech in debate and exchange of opinion lies at the core of academic work and of the discipline of philosophy. Academic freedom requires an environment where all can freely participate and where each idea is considered on its own merits. Yet, anything worth philosophising about can be discussed in a considerate manner. In order to make this open exchange of ideas possible, we need to respect basic academic standards and maintain the academic community in which this takes place.

Academic Standards: Arguments should be supported by verifiable sources and facts and valid reasoning.

Academic Community: We expect standards of behaviour to be upheld between students and staff, and among students, at all times. Any kind of discrimination, intimidation, or any form of aggression on and off-campus will not be tolerated.

Inclusion: We as a Programme, Institute and Faculty, value, protect and foster inclusion and diversity be it diversity of genders and abilities, or sexual, ethnic, national, religious, intellectual. We recognize, value and respect the diversity in backgrounds and experiences of our staff and students. We also recognize the importance and impact of implicit bias and the historical and social reasons why it remains too common in academic settings as well as society at large. We realize that historical and social structures and mechanisms of power and oppression often shape the production of knowledge. We also recognize that members of minorities remain underrepresented in the student and staff population and that this has important consequences to the learning experience of students. It is our goal to achieve an inclusive learning environment which offers a safe and welcoming space regardless of background and experience.

B.    General requirements of acceptable conduct:
As per University regulations, students must refrain from undertaking any disrespectful or hurtful activity, any unlawful activity, or any activity that violates these commitments. This includes violence of any kind, verbal assault, threats, sexist, homophobic, racist, xenophobic,
Islamophobic and Anti-Semitic language of any sort. All studies-related activities (including in-person education, online education, pair work and group work) are regulated by the same codes: respectful and considerate language and interactions are non-optional at all times . Students and staff alike are expected to comply with standards of behaviour deemed acceptable in social interactions towards another person or with regard to each other’s property as well as public and university property. 

For more information see link:

C.    Online conduct:
When you are following a class online, it is sometimes harder to remember that you are still in an educational environment, just like you would be in a normal classroom. You should behave in a manner fitting that educational environment. Use professional language and behave in a respectful manner towards staff and fellow students, just as you would expect form yourself and from others in a university lecture room.

Social Media: As a student, you have a responsibility to conduct civil and respectful discourse in all forums and platforms directly or indirectly related to the University, including those that allow for confidential or anonymous participation. In addition to the principles laid out above, please remember to always respect the privacy of others. Whatsapp groups and other fora where students from the program and the university are involved in University-related interactions also fall under our code of conduct.

Be aware of the nature of social media!
-Everything you post is often immediately accessible for many people. Think about what you post before you post it!
-Even on private sites, posts, or screenshots of posts, can be forwarded and distributed. There is no such thing as an entirely closed site;
-Once posted, even for a short time, a message has its own life. It is difficult to completely erase information;
-Think about how a post might be received, and its effects on others. Think about what kind of responses they might generate. Always aim to express respect for and acceptance of others. Remember that in the context of communication, what you say or do matters more than what you meant to say or do. Hurtful jokes are hurtful and will be treated as such.

D.    Protect Yourself and Others:
The Programme, the Institute, the Faculty and the University at large are committed to protecting you and others from any breach in this code of conduct. If you witness unacceptable behavior, be an active bystander; this does not always mean confrontation, but can also take the form of offering support, moving the discussion to a safer topic or signaling that you recognize that some behaviours are unacceptable. If, however, the issue cannot be resolved in any of these ways, please report your concerns. This is a responsibility that applies both to those who experience of undesirable behavior and to those who are witnesses to them. Lecturers and study advisors and the Program Chair (Opleidingsvoorzitter) are there to support and advise you if you have witnessed or experienced unacceptable behavior. Whether you have experienced such breaches or been a witness to them, you will always find support and confidentiality with the following officers: 

-The Institute’s Study Advisors (Things discussed with your advisor will be kept confidential. When it concerns potentially harmful situations, your study advisor has the duty to report them to the programme board, with maximum confidentiality): stuco wijsbegeerte, p.e.r.a. casse, c.m. de greef

-The Ombudsman’s office or ombudsfunctionaris@leidenuniv.nl;

-The University Lawyer or f.r.schouten@bb.leidenuniv.nl;

-The Diversity Officer of the Faculty of Humanities;

-The Diversity Officer of the University;

-The Security Office of the University;

-The Student member of the Programme Committee (Opleidingscommissie) at 
olc-wijsbegeerte@hum.leidenuniv.nl ;

-The Officers for undesirable behaviour;

In addition to these dedicated officers, remember that any staff member of the University may be a point person and they will be able to advise you. Anyone you trust may be your starting point.

E.    Sanctions and Penalties:

As per University regulations, breaches of this code of conduct by any member of the student or staff body may lead to one or more of the following sanctions:

a. A written reprimand.
b. Conditional or unconditional denial of access to one or more units of the buildings and grounds of the University, for a maximum period of one year.
c. Conditional or unconditional denial of the use of University facilities.
d. Conditional or unconditional termination of enrolment of the student at the University, for a maximum period of one year.
e. Permanent denial of access to one or more units of the buildings and grounds of the University, if the student has caused serious disturbance and has failed to modify their behaviour following a written reprimand by the Executive Board.
f. An alternative appropriate disciplinary measure.


-Sanctions for the violation of the code of conduct in general are outlined in the National House Rules and General Conduct statement (Art. 7.57h Higher Education and Research Act.
-Violation of the code of conduct for use of University premises can lead to sanctions outlined here:  
-Violation of the ICT regulations can also lead to sanctions outlined here. 

Would you like to raise a question about this Code of Conduct? 
Please get in touch with the Programme committee (Opleidingscommissie) at: 

1 November 2021


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