Odisee University College is committed to an environment where people treat each other respectfully and where there is no room for transgressive behavior such as (verbal and physical) aggression, (cyber)bullying, sexual transgressive behavior, stalking, harassment and discrimination.
If this nevertheless occurs, Odisee takes it seriously and tackles it.
What is transgressive behavior?
Some boundaries are generally accepted, while others are individual. Everyone has the right to decide for themselves what their personal boundaries are. Others are expected to respect the boundary that you set.
Transgressive behavior occurs when someone doesn't respect your personal or generally accepted boundaries.
Odisee University College: A safe environment with respect for boundaries
As a student, it is important that you feel safe on campus and that an objective evaluation is warranted at all times.
Therefore we expect that the people who guide you in your learning process - both on campus and at your internship - keep an appropriate distance and are aware of their power position towards students. Of course, this implies that you as a student are also expected to behave respectfully towards others and to respect their boundaries, both on campus as during any activity linked to the university college (e.g. student association activities, internships, study trips, etc.).
In order to provide a framework for respectful and professional interaction in each of these contexts, Odisee University College developed a Code of Conduct to prevent transgressive behavior. When this Code of Conduct is violated, we also consider this as transgressive behavior.
What can you do when confronted with transgressive behavior?
Know that when someone violates your boundary, you may always state this!
Try to do so in the clearest way possible. Sometimes you don't manage to respond immediately or you only realize afterwards that your boundaries were crossed. Please, know that it is never too late to indicate your boundaries. A belated reaction is also a reaction.
If you notice that your boundaries are still not being respected after this or if you don't feel safe enough to state your boundaries, take other steps before it escalates further. You can, for example, seek help from someone else and/or talk about it with someone you trust.
Where can you find help if you encounter transgressive behavior?
Odisee University College's confidential counselors
Did you experience transgressive behavior, witnessed it, heard rumors about it, do you have doubts or questions about it, or (do you think) that you crossed someone's boundaries? Please, know that in each of these situations you can confidentially reach out to the confidential counselors at your campus (contact details, see bottom of this page).
The confidential counselors offer a listening ear, can provide support, and advice you on how to deal with the situation. The confidential counselors main concern is taking care for you as a student. Don't hesitate to request information from the confidants at any time. The confidential counselors will always respect your boundaries. You will never be forced to tell more than you want to tell at that moment. All confidential counselors work are legally bound to professional secrecy, which means that conversations are confidential.
If you would like to take further action, the confidential counselors can discuss the available possibilities with you and can assist you in taking action. The confidential counselors can also mediate and/or address the problem within the organization. When taking action, you set the pace. When further steps are taken, you will always be informed about the progress.
Not only victims or witnesses of transgressive behavior may be in need of a conversation or advice. Do you have the feeling that you have crossed someone's boundaries yourself, and are you worried about this? In that case, you're also welcome with the confidential counselors for a listening ear and/or advice. These conversations are also confidential.
The Flemish ombuds service
Besides the confidential counselors at your campus, you can also turn to an external service for questions or a conversation about transgressive behavior. This can be the Flemish Ombuds Service, which you can reach at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 02 552 41 20. The counselors at the Flemish Ombuds Service are also bound to professional secrecy; confidentiality is thus guaranteed. The Flemish Gender Chamber as part of the Flemish Ombuds Service is directly supervised by the Flemish Parliament, so an independent position is warranted.
Within your own network
You can talk about it with someone you trust, such as a friend, your parents, or a family member. Reaching out to a teacher, internship supervisor, fellow student, or student representative is also possible. Just take into account that they aren't bound to legal professional secrecy.
Other external services
You can also contact the following services at any time in complete anonymity:
- CHS (Community Help Service): Tel. 02/648 40 14 (in Belgium)
1712: Professional helpline for questions about violence, abuse and child maltreatment: by phone (tel. 1712) and via chat.
- Sexual Assault Centres: A service offered in a number of hospitals in Belgium. They offer medical care, psychological care, sampling, filing a complaint and follow-up. Any victim of sexual violence can consult this service 24/7.
- Police: Are you a victim of a criminal offence? Then you can always file a complaint at the police. The police also has a victim assistance service.
What does professional secrecy mean?
It means that the confidential counselors will never take steps and/or share information with others without your explicit consent.
The confidential counselor will first and foremost focus on the care or support that you need. Therefore, even if you do not want to take further steps, it can be useful to have a conversation with the confidential counselors about the transgressive behavior that you witnessed or experienced.
If you have any questions about professional secrecy and the confidentiality of the conversations, please, don't hesitate to ask the confidential counselors for more information.
Why is seeking help a good idea?
When you are confronted with transgressive behavior, it can often be a big step to actually talk about it. Several thoughts, feelings or doubts may keep you from going to a confidential counselor or ombudsperson. It is important, however, to listen to your gut feeling when it tells you that a situation is not okay. And it is equally important not to stand alone with it.
Talking about it helps you to
Deal with the situation
Learn how to respect others' boundaries
Talking about your experiences with a confidential counselor may have many benefits.
- Talking about it often helps you to cope with the situation and to feel better.
- By talking about it , you protect yourself. The confidential counselor can give you information and advice on how to handle the situation and set boundaries. If necessary, they can also take measures to ensure that the transgressive behavior stops and that an objective evaluation is guaranteed.
- In addition, by talking about it you may also be able to protect others. Perhaps others had similar experiences with a particular person before or maybe there is a structural problem. Telling your story to the confidential counselor can reveal and help solving structural problems withing the organisation.
- Even when you crossed someone else's boundaries yourself, it helps to talk about it. After all, the confidential counselor can learn you how to recognize and respect others people's boundaries. Moreover, the confidential counselor can help you in figuring out whether and in what way recovery may be possible.
- If you need further professional help, the confidential counselors can direct you to appropriate professionals.
If you find it difficult to talk about it at first, but want to have a conversation after some time, please know that it is never too late for doing so.
Contact the confidential counselor at your campus
KU Leuven studenten: gelieve Marc, Leen of Maarten te contacteren
Odisee studenten: gelieve de studentenbegeleiders te contacteren via het algemeen mailadres (zie link onderaan).