For some, it is the ability to express their opinion freely, for others to be able to rely on colleagues, and for others to have the same opportunities regardless of health or social disability.
According to one of the outputs of the Central Development Project Social Security at Czech Universities in the Context of Academic Ethics, social security can be defined as “an ideal state of the environment in which the behaviour and actions of all present are naturally guided by the principles of collegiality, integrity, equality, respect, openness, and consideration for others and where any form of unwanted behaviour, intimidation, aggression, bullying or discrimination is considered unacceptable, regardless of whether it concerns students or employees”.
The University actively seeks to build a sense of “social security” for its male and female staff and students. In 2022, it joined the Central Development Project Social Security at Czech Universities in the Context of Academic Ethics, and this year, it is one of the partners of the ongoing project Prevention of Unethical Behaviour on Campus and Support of Competence in Victim Care. The aim of both projects is to connect Czech universities and share good practices on issues related to academic ethics, especially with regard to plagiarism, but also in the area of misconduct, whether in the form of bullying or sexual harassment. The good news is that, based on the outcomes of the internal audit on social safety, we have already moved forward in this area. Procedurally, many things are set up, but it is always up to people to accept and respect the rules. The Equal Opportunities section of the University’s website is devoted to the issue of discrimination, inappropriate behaviour, and, in particular, sexual harassment. The main activities in these areas are the prevention of these negative phenomena and training on sexual harassment is planned. Both male and female staff and students will find information not only on how to prevent sexual harassment but what to do if they encounter sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviour. If they suspect such occurrences, they can make a complaint to both the Ethics Committee and the Ombudsperson or follow the directive on Handling Complaints, Motions, Reports, Petitions, and Other Complaints.
VSB-TUO generally advocates the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, and equal opportunities. All male and female employees, students, and other persons related to or working at the University have equal opportunities regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion or health status. The concept of equal opportunities shows that we should judge primarily on individual qualities and abilities and not based on our expectations of different groups of people. The issue of equal opportunities between men and women is the one we encounter most often.
VSB-TUO generally advocates the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, and equal opportunities. All male and female employees, students, and other persons related to or working at the University have equal opportunities regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion or health status. The concept of equal opportunities shows that we should judge primarily on individual qualities and abilities and not judge based on the expectations we have of different groups of people. The issue of equal opportunities between men and women is the one we encounter most often.
In this context, it should be noted that the University has been implementing the activities of the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) for a year now. The Plan covers the following priority areas.
Gender balance in leadership and decision-making
Gender equality in recruitment and promotion
Reconciling work and family/personal life
Measures against gender-based violence, including sexual harassment
The GEP is available on the University website in both Czech and English versions; each priority area always has the following structure containing the following information: WHY is the priority important? WHAT is already being implemented in this area by VSB-TUO? Plans of activities that are already implemented within the given priority area (support and development of existing measures) and the Plan of New Measures and Activities. The efforts of all those involved in the implementation of the partial activities are not only to formalise and set up processes related to the issue but especially to implement the principles of gender equality in the daily activities of the University to the greatest possible extent, whether it is teaching scientific research or administrative activities.
Last but not least, our University has been proud of the HR Award for almost two years. This award, fully titled “HR Excellence in Research Award”, is given by the European Commission for excellence in the care of human resources in a scientific environment. One of the conditions for receiving this award was that the University openly advocates the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Subsequently, a GAP analysis (an analysis of partial processes in the identified areas), an analysis of the principles of the OTM-R policy and the Action Plan were developed based on these documents. The implementation of the Action Plan activities is monitored by the European Commission according to a predetermined timetable. The first internal evaluation is due in June this year.
During the implementation of the action plan, we have managed to accomplish many activities, including updating the Code of Conduct and the Rules of Procedure of the Ethics Committee and creating an e-learning course on OSH training. As part of human resources management, uniform templates for advertisements have been created, vacancies are now posted uniformly, and all relevant information is transparently provided to applicants. An adaptation process has been set up for new employees, and an Employee Guide in Czech and English has been created. In addition to newcomers, this online help serves all existing employees. It introduces them to the processes of the University, its rules, as well as orientation on the campuses and other practical information in an easy-to-understand way according to thematic areas. A significant change for all employees has been introducing a new electronic system for regular staff appraisal. This system has helped, in particular, the senior employees to gain a more sophisticated tool for managing people in their departments, but also employees themselves have the opportunity to conduct their own self-assessment and participate in setting their personal development goals.
In the next stage of the implementation of the Action Plan, we are going to update the Career Regulations, the Internal Salary Regulations, as well as the area of academic ethics, which includes, among other things, the issue of plagiarism or the protection of intellectual property.