The Sexual Misconduct and Response Guideline (“the Guideline”) sets up a framework to serve the following objectives:
- Raising awareness of sexual misconduct and the importance of consent both within VinUniversity (VinUni) and in the larger community.
- Providing support to students, faculty, and staff who have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct or may wish to report incidents of sexual misconduct.
- Encouraging collective action and responsibility for preventing sexual misconduct at VinUni.
- Ensuring transparency in VinUni’s processes for responding to, investigating, and documenting incidents of sexual misconduct.
This Guideline is applicable to the following:
- All individuals within the VinUni Community (“the Community”), which includes students, faculty, teaching assistants, staff, affiliates, visitors, and anyone involved in university-related activities.
- Campus spaces (such as facilities, student dormitory), online platforms (such as forums, online communities, learning management systems) or any other physical, digital or virtual spaces owned or used by VinUni as part of its teaching, learning, research, and related activities.
- Activities organized by or on behalf of VinUni, both on and off campus. These activities encompass a wide range, including but not limited to outreach initiatives, field trips, fieldwork, internships, clinical activities, exchanges, sporting events, university travel, competitions, and events organized by student clubs and societies.
3. Policy Principles
3.1 VinUni requires all members of the Community to treat all people with consideration and respect. VinUni pledges to build a safe, respectful and inclusive campus, dedicated to the flourishing of academic and personal excellence.
3.2 VinUni is committed to zero tolerance approach to sexual misconduct. Any form of alleged sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and will be investigated fully and disciplined accordingly.
3.3 VinUni will offer support and services to all members of its community, whether they are a Complainant, Witness or Respondent. Individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct will be treated with compassion, understanding, and confidentiality.
3.4 VinUni will learn through practice to continually improve prevention and response programs and activities. VinUni will build awareness of sexual misconduct through training, education, dialogue, or other means.
4. Policy Statements
4.1 Disclosure and Reporting
- A Disclosure can be made to designated persons within the VinUni Community, knowing that their concerns will be treated with utmost confidentiality and sensitivity:
- Students can approach the Dean of Student Experience, Head of SAM, Head of Registrar Office or a trusted faculty member.
- Similarly, staff and faculty members are encouraged to disclose any relevant information to the Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee or the HR Director or the Chief of Staff Union.
- These designated individuals are well-equipped to address student and staff issues and provide the necessary support and guidance.
- Except in the case of an arrestable offence, Disclosure does not result in a Report being made. A Complainant is not required to make a Report about an incident of Sexual Misconduct in order to access certain support or services, such as referral for counselling and obtaining information on relevant resources.
- If VinUni is made aware of an incident of Sexual Misconduct that poses an immediate risk to the physical and mental health and safety of any member of the VinUni Community, VinUni will take steps to protect their health and safety. These measures may encompass temporary suspension from campus activities or making a police report under Section 4.4 of this Policy.
- VinUni strongly encourages all members of the VinUni community to report instances of sexual misconduct. While anonymous reports are accepted, it is preferable for individuals to identify themselves whenever possible, as it enables the university to conduct a thorough investigation. Anonymous reports may not provide sufficient evidence for the investigation to proceed.
- Students can report an incident to VinUni in the following ways:
(a) contact the support line on 0868900016 (Counselling Office)/ 0866100018 (Residential Office) or the security hotline at 02471089779, Ext 9901
(b) lodge an online report to the Office of Student Affairs Management (“SAM”) via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com;
(c) phone or make an in-person report to the Dean of Student Experience, Head of SAM, and/or Head of Registrar Office.
- Staff can report an incident to VinUni in the following ways:
(a) make a report to their immediate supervisor (where possible),
(b) email to Compliance Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) make an in-person report to the Human Resources (“HR”) Director, the Chair of Faculty Affairs Committee and/or the Chief of Staff Union.
- For cases involving students, investigations and disciplinary proceedings will be independently carried out by SAM or assigned investigators.
- For cases involving academic or professional staff, investigations will be independently carried out by the Office of Compliance and disciplinary proceedings will be initiated by the Office of HR.
- Once the Reporting process has been initiated, VinUni has a duty to investigate and take action in accordance with this Guideline. The intention of VinUni is to complete such steps as expeditiously as practicable.
- Where the Reporting Party is a Witness, VinUni will proceed with the investigation only after: (a) speaking to the Complainant and obtaining the Complainant’s agreement to proceed with the case; or (b) determining that there appears to be a risk of imminent harm to any person. When VinUni decides to proceed with the investigation in such a situation, VinUni will inform the Complainant of its decision.
- The Reporting Party are strongly encouraged to provide their name, the name of the Respondent (if known) and the name of the Complainant (if the Reporting Party is not the Complainant). Where a party does not wish to provide such names, VinUni may not be able to take action based on the Report. All Reporting Parties’ information will be treated with the utmost confidentiality throughout the investigation process.
- Complainants and Witnesses are encouraged to make a Disclosure or Report, especially when experiencing or witnessing an incident of Sexual Misconduct that has impacted their experience at VinUni. Members of the VinUni Community are encouraged to advise and support Complainants and Witnesses to make a Disclosure or Report should they encounter an incident of Sexual Misconduct.
- VinUni usually requires the Complainant’s consent to make a police report.
4.2 Managing and investigating reports of sexual misconduct
4.2.1 The procedures for reporting and handling an incident of Sexual Misconduct committed by a staff member, including disciplinary proceedings, follows the Code of Conduct for Staff.
4.2.2 The procedures for reporting and handling an incident of Sexual Misconduct committed by a student, including disciplinary proceedings, follows the Code of Conduct for Students.
4.2.3 VinUni will ensure that:
- Investigation and disciplinary proceedings are carried out by appropriately trained and qualified individuals;
- Its processes are conducted so as to minimize trauma to the Complainant while ensuring that the Respondent is given a fair hearing; and
- The matter will be resolved sensitively, fairly, confidentially, and expeditiously
- The provision of comprehensive support measures that include emotional support, medical assistance, and counseling services to the experienced person.
4.2.4 At no time will the Complainant and Respondent be required to meet with, or to participate in any activity with one another as part of the investigation or disciplinary process, unless both parties have explicitly provided their prior informed consent.
4.2.5 VinUni will provide regular and timely updates to both the Complainant and Respondent on the progress of its proceedings.
4.2.6 Unless proven otherwise, VinUni shall assume that all Disclosures or Reports are made in good faith. However, false Disclosures and Reports will be subject to disciplinary action.
4.3 Outcomes of an investigation
4.3.1 Outcomes and results of investigations will be based on the principles of this Guideline; be based on the available evidence; be proportionate to the type and seriousness of the incident(s); reflect the university’s obligations and, where possible and appropriate, provide learning and development opportunities.
4.3.2 Where it is determined that no further investigations or actions are possible, VinUni will communicate this decision to the complainant providing further support and an explicit rationale behind this decision.
4.3.3 Complainant(s) who is/are not satisfied with the outcome of an investigation will be provided with information on other available support services and the Complainant(s) may make a report to the police or other relevant external agency at any time. VinUni will provide ongoing support as deemed appropriate and reasonable.
4.4.4 Cultural Consideration in Investigation: In the event of a reported incident of sexual misconduct, it is crucial to recognize and respect cultural differences that may be relevant to the assessment and interpretation of behaviors. It is understood that actions and intentions can be influenced by cultural norms, practices, and beliefs. Therefore, investigators should approach each case with cultural sensitivity, taking into account the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of the individuals involved.
4.4 Reporting to the Police or Authorized Government Bodies
4.4.1 Complainants should be advised that: (i) They have the right to report to the police; and (ii) If they choose to report to the police, VinUni may support them to make the police report (where appropriate).
4.4.2 In the case of arrestable offenses, police reporting will be completed in a reasonable timeframe after the conclusion of deliberations by the Board of Discipline. A police report may be filed earlier if circumstances warrant. VinUni may consider a delay in making a report to the police only under any of the following exceptional circumstances: (i) A real and present risk of self-harm by the Complainant (such as suicide). (ii) A real and present risk of physical harm to the Complainant or those whom the Complainant seeks to protect (such as retaliation or threats of violence by a partner). (iii) A likely serious and detrimental effect on the mental health of the Complainant.
4.4.3 If VinUni decides that it is necessary to report the alleged Sexual Misconduct to the police, then the reasons for taking that action should be explained to the Complainant so that they understand what is happening and are prepared when contacted by the police.
4.5 Confidentiality, Privacy, and Information Sharing
4.5.1 Privacy Protection:
- The University will handle all reports of sexual misconduct with sensitivity, respecting the privacy and confidentiality of all parties involved to the extent permitted by law.
- The University encourages individuals to respect the privacy and confidentiality of parties involved in sexual misconduct cases. It is essential to protect the identities and personal information of those affected until a proper investigation has taken place.
4.5.2 Information Sharing: Limited disclosure of information may be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation, protect the safety of the community, or comply with legal obligations.
4.5.3 Presumption of Innocence: Emphasize the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” Individuals should refrain from publicly accusing or sharing unverified information about someone accused of sexual harassment until a thorough investigation has been conducted.
4.5.4 Responsible Sharing: All members of the VinUniversity Community should be responsible for social media usage. Individuals should refrain from sharing unverified or potentially damaging information about sexual misconduct cases on public platforms. Instead, they should rely on verified sources and official statements once investigations have been completed. Unverified information sharing by a member of the VinUni Community may constitute misconduct and will be dealt with in accordance with the current disciplinary policy and procedures.
4.6.1 VinUni prohibits Retaliation against any Reporting Party, Complainant, Witness, or VinUni staff involved in the investigation and disciplinary proceedings, or in providing support to any person involved in a case, whether or not any violation of this Policy is found to have occurred following an investigation.
4.6.2 VinUni will take reasonable steps to protect the Reporting Party and/or Complainant and others who participate in the processes under this Policy against actual or potential Retaliation, including advising individuals in writing of their duty to refrain from committing an act of Retaliation and sanctioning individuals for a breach of that duty. Threats of or acts of Retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action.
4.6.3 Retaliation refers to any adverse actions against an individual who acts in good faith and without malice. Forms of Retaliation include, but are not limited to: (i) Intimidation; (ii) Unfavorable actions with respect to the individual’s employment (i.e. reassignment of work duties, negative performance evaluation/withholding advancement; negative performance evaluation/withholding advancement, termination of employment, etc.), (iii) Unfavorable actions against someone with known family or other relationship with such individual.
4.7.1 VinUni shall keep appropriate records of all Disclosures and Reports of Sexual Misconduct in a secure location.
4.7.2 Anonymized and de-identified data relating to sexual misconduct reports, responses, and user experiences will be assessed (in line with the confidentiality requirements of this policy) to inform the continued improvement of response, reporting, and management processes, support services, education, and prevention strategies. This information will be provided to the steering group to support continual improvement in the whole of the university response.
5. Abbreviations and Definitions
5.1 Complainant: A member of the VinUni Community who has experienced an incident of Sexual Misconduct that is the subject matter of a Disclosure or Report.
5.2 Respondent: A person against whom an allegation of Sexual Misconduct has been made.
5.3 Witness: A member of the VinUni Community who witnesses or otherwise has information relevant to an incident of Sexual Misconduct.
5.4 Reporting Party: The person who makes a Report alleging an incident of Sexual Misconduct.
5.5 Disclosure: The sharing of information by an individual with a member of the VinUni Community regarding an incident of Sexual Misconduct experienced by that individual.
6. Roles and Responsibilities in Response of Misconduct
|President of the University Council
|Serves as the spokesperson of the University in representing the institution to the public, media, and other key stakeholders.
If necessary, the President may delegate the job to an approved qualified spokesperson.
Serves as the Chair of the University-wide Board of Disciplinary Proceedings and delivers all required, duly signed supporting documentation to law enforcement officials.
|Head of the Office of Student Affairs Management
|Serves as the main point of contact for any student-related sexual misconduct incidents and is in charge of coordinating the subsequent follow-up actions.
|Head of the Office of Human Resources
|Serves as the main point of contact for any staff-related sexual misconduct incidents and is in charge of coordinating the subsequent follow-up actions.
|Head of Compliance Office
|Serves as an investigator for staff/faculty-related sexual misconduct incidents and for students (if being assigned); monitoring and reporting the implementation of resolutions issued by the Board of Disciplinary.
7. Related Documents and Forms
Sexual Misconduct: Procedure for Reporting and Investigation (Appendix 1)
8.1. Appendix 1: Sexual Misconduct: Procedure for Reporting and Investigation
Flowchart A: Student Incident Case (if the Complainant and the Respondent are students) – PDF version
Flowchart B: Staff Incident Case (the Complainant could be staff, student, or the outsider) – PDF version
8.2. Appendix 2: Definition of Sexual Misconduct
8.3. Appendix 3: Examples of Sexual Misconduct
Sexual Misconduct includes but is not limited to, the examples set out in the following sections.
|Sexual Discrimination means unequal or unfair treatment of an individual based on sex, gender, gender identity and/or sexual orientation, in relation to various aspects of that individual’s educational and student life activities and/or employment (as the case may be).
|Sexual Exploitation – Sexual Misconduct not involving physical contact
|Sexual Contact – Sexual Misconduct involving physical contact
|Sexual Contact refers to any deliberate physical contact with another person in a sexual manner, however slight or brief, whether that touching is direct or indirect, without that person’s Consent, or at a point when that person is incapable of giving Consent.
8.4 Appendix 4: Templates for descriptive summary of complaints of sexual misconduct for students
|Date of Report
|Type of Offence
|Description of Offence
|Disciplinary Actions/ Sanctions
8.5 Appendix 5: Templates for descriptive summary of complaints of sexual misconduct for faculty /staff
|Date of Report
|Type of Offence
|Description of Offence
|Disciplinary Actions/ Sanctions
The Office of Student Affairs Management and the Office of Legal and Compliance will distribute summary reports to the whole VinUni community on June 30th of each year (for internal communication purposes only).
Acknowledgments and references
We gratefully acknowledge the work of other academic institutions in describing their policies and procedures for sexual misconduct. We have adapted these principles and procedures as they are relevant to VinUni. Consequently, text for certain sections of this document has been taken or adapted from the following sexual misconduct policies and procedures published by:
- National University of Singapore
- University of Technology Sydney
- Cornell University
- The University of Pennsylvania