BM86: Resolution on Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and  Safe Environment promotion in Higher Education

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The European Students’ Union (ESU) and the Student Union of Latvia (LSA) draw  attention to the need to promote a safe environment in higher education institutions  (HEI) in Latvia. This resolution sets out the negative consequences of sexual  misconduct and unwanted acts of a sexual nature. 

Current Situation 

Cases of both sexual misconduct and undesirable acts of a sexual nature have been identified in HEI of Latvia, which affect the existence of a safe environment both among students and staff of the institution of higher education. It should be pointed out that such behaviour may take place in the course of an in-person, off-site and remote study process, as well as both in and outside the study environment. 

Incidents of sexual misconduct in HEIs violate ethical boundaries. Such behaviour can  take many forms, such as unwanted touches, sexual propositions, threats, gender specific comments, gestures, and phrases of an inappropriate nature. Such situations  can arise in different types of power relations – student versus student, staff  members of a HEI versus student or vice versa, as well as only among staff, but regardless of the environment of expression, such behaviour is not permissible. 

Supporting the Student Union of Latvia’s proposals 

ESU supports LSA’s proposals related to the need to improve the higher education  environment with additional mechanisms that would promote the creation of a safe environment: Psycho-emotional support: it is necessary to create and fully implement the availability of free psycho-emotional support staff at HEIs for both students and staff members. 

Improvement of the legislation of the Republic of Latvia: currently, at the level of legal acts, there are no measures aimed at limiting or punishing behavior that is described as sexual misconduct. 

Academic rights ombudsman: establishing a separate institution in Latvia would  provide support also for the protection of students’ rights, as well as ensure  consideration of various situations from an ethical point of view. 

Specific measures in HEIs: within the framework of each HEI, internal regulatory acts must be developed that regulate actions in case of sexual misconduct and how to effectively prevent it. It is also necessary for HEIs to develop separate courses that educate staff and students about the norms and boundaries of professional and general ethics, which HEIs must observe, so that the rights and psycho-emotional health of others are not violated, paying special attention to the prevention of unwanted sexual behavior.

Surveying and conducting research: in order to successfully identify existing problems and identify general challenges in the higher education environment in Latvia, it is necessary to collect and compile information regarding how safe and acknowledged staff and students feel. 

General measures and promotion of information: HEIs need to establish an effective reporting system where students and staff can report violations of rights. Student self-governments should also be involved in the development of such a system. It is also necessary to create teaching materials for students and staff in compliance with ethical principles. 

We believe that such changes would contribute to the creation of a safer and more supportive environment for psycho-emotional health. 


ESU and LSA stand for a safe, fair and discrimination-free higher education environment. We call for the implementation of higher education without cases of sexual misconduct, focusing upon improving the regulatory framework and improving the availability of psycho-emotional health support.


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