How Do We Cooperate at This University?

Our culture of cooperation is explained in the Charta der Vielfalt of 2014: As Leuphana University Lüneburg, we are committed to cultivating a university culture that is characterized by mutual respect, anti-discrimination and appreciation of every single person.

What Is the Leuphana's Stance on Sexualized Discrimination and Violence?

Sexualized discrimination and violence (also referred to as: sexual harassment) can have a massive impact on the well-being and participation of those affected. Their academic and professional careers can be damaged. The university may lose those affected as employees or students. Such incidents can have a negative impact on team collaboration, communication and the working atmosphere. To prevent these consequences, there are guidelines, agreements and codes of conduct at the Leuphana University Lüneburg:

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In this video (German & English subtitles), the President of Leuphana University Lüneburg, Dr. Sascha Spoun, explains what actions are being taken against sexualized discrimination and violence at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Subtitles in German and English are available by clicking on the gear wheel icon (options) on the right bottom side of the Youtube player.

Here is the transcript in English.

What Are the Characteristics of a Preventive Academic Culture?

A culture of care and awareness in relation to sexualized discrimination and violence is an important preventive measure. What characterizes this attitude?

A culture of care and awareness means that we aim constantly to treat each other well.

The goal is a climate that is characterized by respect, interest, seriousness, fairness, friendliness and trust. This affects, for example, the interaction between lecturers and students, between staff in administrative and service facilities and the users of these facilities, between people at different hierarchical levels, as well as in teams and working groups.

A culture of care and awareness means that everyone at the university feels responsible for protection against discrimination and violence.

When members of the university witness inappropriate actions, they do not look away but take a position. They don't laugh when disparaging jokes are made. They make their refusal of such actions clear. People who practice discrimination or violence will not be tolerated, and no apologetic explanations for their inappropriate actions will be tolerated. If university members become witnesses to verbal or physical harassment or other incidents, they offer support to those affected. They seek advice from the university contact points in order to clarify their options for action and responsibilities. If those affected seek help, they are taken seriously.

A culture of care and awareness includes self-reflective handling of prejudices, structural exclusion and privileges.

Never having personally experienced sexualized discrimination and violence should not be seen as a sign that sexualized discrimination and violence does not exist at the university. Discriminatory and violent experiences in the university context particularly often affect young women, people with disabilities, trans people, queer people, and migrants. Trans people, intersex persons, queer people, and Persons of Color are additionally affected by multiple discrimination. The groups listed and, for example, male victims also face particular challenges when it comes to disclosing sexualized discrimination and violence. Awareness of these issues is a key characteristic of a culture of care and awareness.

The Gender-Diversity-Portal tells you more about anti-discrimination at Leuphana University Lüneburg.

What Are the Consequences of Inappropriate Behavior?

The university is obliged to follow up on information regarding discrimination and violence and, if there is a suspicion or complaint, to take appropriate measures to clarify what happened. The Beschwerdestelle (complaints office) fulfills a central function according to § 13 AGG (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz). It is located in the Justiziariat. In an interview, Stephanie Verbeet, head of the Justiziariat and the Professurenservice, describes her area of ​​responsibility and her way of working.
Read it here.

Discriminatory and violent acts have consequences. The consequences depend on the relationship between the perpetrators and the university (i.e. whether they are external persons, students, civil servants or other employees). On the part of the university, informal and formal measures can be taken to react to sexualized discrimination and violence. What kinds of sanctions are happening depend on the specifics of the case.

Possible informal, supportive measures on the part of the university include

  • a talk between a trained person from the group of possible contact persons and the accused person, as an initial clarification, and with reference to the prohibition of sexualized discrimination, harassment and violence.
  • a face-to-face talk with the suspected perpetrator’s superiors with reference to the prohibition of sexualized discrimination, harassment and violence.
  • a talk with the person concerned and / or a person in their trust with the accused person, which can be accompanied by a person from the group of possible contacts (e.g. equal opportunities officer, ombudsperson, staff council).

Formal measures can be:

  • conducting a formal interview (“Dienstgespräch”),
  • oral or written instruction,
  • written warning,
  • transfer to another job inside or outside the university,
  • exclusion from a course (students),
  • exclusion from the use of higher education institutions,
  • house ban; ban on entering a certain building,
  • de-registration (“Exmatrikulation”),
  • timely or immediate termination,
  • initiation of disciplinary proceedings, which may include reprimands, fines, salary cuts, transfer or removal from service,
  • criminal complaint by the university management.

Steps are taken with the consent of the person affected (except in serious cases and when there is an urgent suspicion that other people are also at risk). During informal measures, the affected person has an unlimited right to anonymity. It may be necessary to disclose the name of the person affected to law enforcement or disciplinary authorities as part of legal obligations.

Of course, regardless of the measures taken by the university, those affected have the option of taking legal action themselves.

Continue reading:


1BDG. Bundesdisziplinargesetz i.d.F.v. 09. Juli 2001 (BGBI. I S. 1510). Zuletzt geändert durch Artikel 3 des Gesetzes vom 19. Oktober 2016 (BGBI. I S. 2362). FNA: 2031-4.

22018. Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes. Was Tun Bei Sexueller Belästigung Am Arbeitsplatz. 5th ed.

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Examples for inappropriate actions, how to recognize and name sexualized discrimination and violence, information on consequences for the affected as well as regulations and guidelines are available at „What Is Sexualized Discrimination and Violence“.

For information on support through the university, accounts of affected persons about their coping mechanisms, tips for taking action, and becoming sure and safe, please visit the page "What Can I Do If I am Personally Affected?".

You can find information on common defensive reactions and their consequences, helpful actions, how to keep a supportive attitude in a conversation, as well as information on self-care as a supporter on the following page: "How Can I Support Affected Persons?".

A list of recommendations for raising awareness as well as materials and resources are available at "How Can I Raise Awareness in My Surroundings?".


Contact Us

Dr. Kathrin van Riesen
Universitätsallee 1, C7.323
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-1060