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Bullying and Harassment for International Students

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Bullying and harassment – a guide for international students

The University of Salford welcomes staff and students from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. We value this diversity and believe that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. The University is committed to offering an environment that is free from any form of bullying and harassment, where people feel safe, get on well together and can achieve their potential. Bullying and harassment of any kind can create a negative environment for people working, learning and socialising. Bullying and harassment of students, staff and visitors is unacceptable at the University of Salford. Being the subject of bullying and harassment can be very distressing, particularly when people separated from friends and family, and can affect the victim’s mental or emotional health, their ability to work, study, relax, and succeed in their studies. Bullying and harassment, on any grounds, will not be tolerated. We expect students, staff and everyone associated with the University of Salford to treat everyone they meet with respect.

What is bullying and harassment?

Bullying and harassment means any unwanted behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended. It is not necessarily always obvious or apparent to others.

Bullying or harassment can be between two individuals or it may involve groups of people. It could be persistent or an isolated incident. It can also occur in written communications, by phone or through email, via social media and not just face-to-face.

Bullying and harassing behaviour can include:

  • threats, insults, coercion or excluding people
  • creating an undignified and hostile environment
  • forcing your opinions, beliefs or views onto someone else
  • inappropriate humour, name calling or comments directed at a person for example about their background, appearance, faith, culture, relationships or personality
  • making any kind of unwanted and inappropriate physical contact or comments
  • interfering with someone’s private space, correspondence or belongings
  • setting unreasonable rules, requirements or standards on a person that cannot be justified

Bullying and harassment is not always intentional, and can sometimes be the result of ignorance, or a failure to be respectful to the feelings or beliefs of others. The most important factor in bullying and harassment is the impact on the victim, and not the intentions of the individual responsible for the behaviour.

Bullying and harassment do not include, for example: disagreeing with someone’s point of view or beliefs; providing constructive feedback when you have to do so; not agreeing to do what someone else wants you to do. However all of these actions must be carried out in a respectful and dignified way.

What can you do about bullying and harassment?

  • Think about your behaviour towards other people and ensure you are sensitive and respectful to everyone, even if they do not share your opinions, values or beliefs.
  • Consider how other people react towards you – if they seem uncomfortable with your behaviour then you should stop and consider if there is a more respectful way to express your views or provide feedback.
  • If you need support to improve your communication and inter-personal skills, or you want to learn more about different cultures, religions, local traditions and culture, you can contact the Wellbeing team.
  • If someone else’s behaviour is making you feel uncomfortable or having a negative impact on you try to talk to them directly about it. Keep it factual and give clear examples. It is better to say “when you do / say …. I feel anxious and offended” than to say “you are a bully”.
  • If you cannot resolve the problem yourself, talk to someone else, for example: your personal tutor / supervisor, Students’ Union adviser, Chaplain or Denizen representative. If you are not sure who to talk to, you can contact your School office or the askUS team or email and someone will contact you to arrange a good time to speak. Tell them what has been happening and talk about what you would like to happen next. There could be a variety of options, such as formal mediation with the person.
  • If the situation is serious or you have tried other ways to resolve the situation you can make a complaint to Bullying and harassment is taken seriously and can be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal with or without notice or expulsion from the University.
  • The University of Salford can provide a range of support to help people resolve conflict including mediation.