Review of UCD’s Dignity and Respect Policy


UCD is committed to the promotion of a culture which upholds the dignity and respect of the individual and which supports their right to study and/or work in an environment which is free from all forms of discrimination. This is supported in the University strategy “Rising to the Future 2020-2024” through its strategic objectives to “provide an inclusive educational experience” and to “attract, retain and develop and excellent and diverse cohort of students, faculty and staff”. Promoting a culture of dignity and respect and wellbeing is also a strategic objective of the UCD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy

A Working Group was established in Autumn 2019 to carry out a review of the UCD Dignity and Respect policy and procedure to enhance the existing policy and procedures, which were last reviewed in 2017. This review is being undertaken for a number of reasons:

  • To revise the dignity and respect policy and procedures based on feedback and experiences of those who have experience of them to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the University community
  • To ensure the policy and procedures reflects developments at national level, specifically relating to the Consent Framework on Ending Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in third level education (visit our webpage on Ending Sexual Violence for information on initiatives undertaken by UCD in this area) and Codes of Practice on Bullying
  • To be aligned to best international practice
  • To promote a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and sexual harassment and sexual misconduct and raise greater awareness around supports and options for resolution of issues of this nature

The membership of this Working Group is as follows: Rory Carey, Director, Culture & Engagement (Chair); Professor Colin Scott, Vice-President for EDI; Marcellina Fogarty, Strategic EDI Manager; Professor Jason Last, Dean of Students; Karen Conway, Senior Employee Relations Specialist; Lynn Foster, Student Engagement Manager; Dr Aoife Duignan, Student Complaints Officer; Dr Conor Buggy, Dignity & Respect Contact Person; Lorraine Baley, HR Partner; Aisling O'Grady, Head of Student Advisers; Gillian Boyle, Senior Research Administrator; Julian Bostridge, Director, Legal Services; Emer Cunningham, Solicitor; Ruairi Power, Students Union; Licia Carlesi, EDI Senior Executive Assistant (Secretary)

Draft documents as follows have been drafted by the Working Group:

  • Dignity and Respect - Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedures (below)
  • Dignity and Respect - Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures (below)

The key reasons for the development of two separate policies and procedures were as follows:

  • To re-enforce the commitment by the University to a zero-tolerance approach.To promote awareness and develop easy to understand guidance which is practical and can be applied in these situations.
  • To highlight the supports and guidance for a person who has experienced sexual harassment/misconduct which are not applicable in cases of bullying or harassment.
  • To highlight informal resolutions in resolving cases of bullying or harassment, which are not appropriate in the case of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
  • To align more closely with national developments such as reports on Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive, Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions and the Irish Universities Association, Guidance for Universities - How to Respond to Alleged Staff or Student on University Related Sexual Misconduct, and the University sector approach.
  • To have a stand-alone Sexual Harassment and Misconduct policy which will make it easier to engage the student and employee community when promoting the new policy

Whilst the informal/early stages of resolution vary in the two procedures documents, the formal complaints stages are identical in order to streamline the process as much as possible for those involved.


There are a range of supports available to employees and students who have experienced bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct. 

For employees, you are strongly encouraged to discuss any issues with your line manager (or the next level up).  Further support is also available from your HR Partner or the EDI Unit.  Students are advised to contact their Student Adviser in the first instance for support and guidance. The trained panel of Dignity and Respect Contact Persons are also available to provide support and information to all members of the University community.

Any employee who wishes to seek additional support can contact the Employee Assistance Service confidentially and the Student Counselling Service is available to any student who wishes to seek further support.

If you need information on how to report a case of bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct, please take a look at the Dignity & Respect at UCD page


* The consultation process has now ended. The Dignity & Respect Review Group is currently revising the draft documents following an in-depth analysis of the feedback received internally and externally * 

The University wishes to consult with UCD employees and students on the following draft documents (available below):

  • Dignity and Respect - Bullying and Harassment Policy
  • Dignity and Respect - Bullying and Harassment Procedure
  • Dignity and Respect - Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy
  • Dignity and Respect - Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Procedure

It is essential that we get your feedback on these important documents to ensure that the University is meeting the needs of our students and employees regarding Bullying and Harassment and Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. 

There will be two main channels for obtaining feedback on these documents:

1. You can submit feedback by completing the Feedback Form available below (deadline: 23 October 2020)

2. You can attend a facilitated focus group (via Zoom) where your feedback will be captured. If you wish to participate in the employee focus group, please register via the UCD booking system

Employee Focus Groups:

  • Thursday 24 September 2020, 10am - 12pm
  • Monday 28 September 2020, 2pm - 4pm 

Extended Leadership Group Focus Groups:

  • Tuesday 13 October 2020, 10am - 12pm
  • Thursday 15 October 2020, 12pm - 2pm

EDI Groups and Subgroups Focus Group:

  • Thursday 8 October 2020, 10am - 12pm

Students' Focus Groups:

  • Wednesday 14 October 2020 (Students' Union Sabbatical Officers) 
  • Wednesday 14 October 2020 (Residential Assistants)
  • Friday 16 October 2020, 1pm - 3pm (Students can attend a facilitated focus group (via Zoom) where your feedback will be captured. If you wish to participate in this student focus group, please register here)

Please be advised that you must read the documents below in advance of the focus groups.

Please note:

  • Students can also submit feedback via the Student Form on this website (deadline: 23 October 2020)

Dignity & Respect Consultation Process - Draft Documents

Draft UCD Bullying and Harassment PolicyPDF|303kb Draft UCD Bullying and Harassment ProcedurePDF|431kb Draft Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct PolicyPDF|441kb Draft UCD Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct ProcedurePDF|480kb