Equal treatment for students
Applicants and students at all levels at KI are covered by the provisions of the Discrimination Act that concern the non-discrimination of students. Consequently, KI seeks to protect the ability of every student to fulfil his/her studies regardless of gender, cross-gender identity or expression, age, ethnicity, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or disability.
Non-discrimination at the university is a matter of rule of law for you as a student and of raising the quality of education. A study environment that is free from insulting or offensive behavior helps to make the teaching and learning process more dynamic; moreover, the non-discrimination perspective can also enrich the content of the subject being taught.
The Discrimination Act
The Act contains
- prohibition against discrimination
- obligation to investigate and take measures against harassment
- Information about qualifications
Harassment can be briefly described as conduct that violates a person's dignity. For such behavior to fall under the Act, it must be associated with gender, transgender identity or expression, age, ethnicity, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or disability.
The Discrimination Act applies if harassment is committed by other students, by teachers or by any other member of the KI staff in an educational context, such as during lectures, seminars or practical on-site training.
Discrimination can briefly be described as the unfair or derogatory treatment of another individual; this means treating someone less favourably than someone else in a comparable situation. The Discrimination Act might apply to such behavior if it is associated with gender, transgender identity or expression, age, ethnicity, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or disability.
KI's compliance with the law and its commitment to preventing harassment and discrimination is monitored by the Act's supervising authority, The Discrimination Ombudsman (DO).
What does KI do?
Karolinska Institutet is a modern university at the heart of the community. If we are to achieve our ambitious objectives where research and education are concerned, all students at KI must be able to develop their potential on the basis of their own qualifications, irrespective of, for example, their gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability.
There is an Action plan for equal treatment 2016-2018 at KI. KI employs coordinators for student rights, for widening participation and the equal treatment of students and a coordinator for students with disabilities.
Reporting and investigation at KI
If you feel that you have been discriminated against or harassed on grounds of your gender, transgender identity or expression, age, ethnicity, religion or other belief, sexual orientation or disability, you should contact a member of the KI staff, such as a head of department, teacher, study advisor or administrator, for advice and to discuss how the matter is to be handled. You can also turn directly to the student-rights officer, the coordinator for widening participation and equal treatment.
According to the Discrimination Act KI is obliged to conduct an investigation when you as a student or applicant tells a representative of KI, e.g. head of department, teacher etc., that you have experienced harassment or discrimination.
Sometimes the matter can be resolved either within your study programme or the department in which you are studying. It is also possible to file a report with the KI President or the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO).
There is no demand for a formal report. It is sufficient that you tell a representative of the university that the harassment, in your opinion, is covered by the Discrimination Act and was connected with your studies here at the university. Still, a written account of the situation is often a good way to report a situation. It is important for you to know that you can’t be anonymous if KI conducts an investigation.
All students at KI have access to the Student Health Centre, where welfare officers and psychiatrists are on hand if you feel discriminated against or harassed and need to talk to a professional. Naturally, such conversations are held in full confidentiality, and everyone working at the Student Health Centre is bound by a pledge of secrecy. For more information, see the Student Health Centre website.
You might also find it helpful to talk to the Students ombudsperson or the Doctoral students ombudsperson at the student unions: the Medical Students' Union (MF) or the Dental Student' Union (OF).
Harassment – in regards of on-site training
According to the Discrimination Act, trainees are equating with employees at the place of traineeship (workplace). Therefore, a student who, during the on-site training and at the place of traineeship, experiences harassment related to any of the grounds of discrimination or harassment of a sexual nature, should raise this with someone in an executive position at the traineeship. As it may be difficult for the student to do this, the student can instead contact someone at the Department at KI, who will handle the question according to the guidelines at KI. Through KI, the traineeship will be contacted for further management under Chap. 2 Sec. 3 of the Discrimination Act.
At the Department, the student is given the opportunity to support the student in his further studies, e.g. through contact with the Student Ombudsperson and the Student Health Centre.
Contact information & links
Coordinator for Student rights
Coordinator for widening participation and equal treatment
Coordinator for students with disabilities
"is a government agency that works on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government to promote equal rights and opportunities and to combat discrimination. Here you can find out more about the Ombudsman, discrimination and how to make a complaint."