#metoo academia

Following the court case of my amazing colleague Caroline Nieberding that was heard on Friday September 16th by the labor court of Wallonia, I will make relevant documentation and press releases available here. The cases referred to concern transgressive behaviors at the university, including sexual harassment, violence, moral harassment, discrimination, and abuse of power. I hope that this will give other victims support and courage, and that it be known that we as victims will not be silenced. More updates will follow…

The full article of the RTBF is available here. Numerous other newspapers and news sites subsequently reported on the story, including La Libre, lavenir, DHSudinfo and Vivacité.

APRIL 2022

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele is invited to speak about harassement and discrimination at UCLouvain by RTL (see the full video here). He states: “Victims are very often afraid to file a complaint because they don’t trust the systems that are in place, which are quite inadequate, and are not independent. And the tendency of the authorities so far has been to sweep these problems under the rug to dismiss the harassers and the harassed when that’s not going to solve the problem”. He concludes by saying that “…I think the university needs to fundamentally reform itself, reform the system, and heads need to roll”.

MARCH 2022

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele speaks about numerous cases of harassment and discrimination at UCLouvain and the lack of response from the University. He proposes that an independent organisation needs to take on reported cases of harassment and discrimination to avoid increased harassment of those that speak up and wiping cases under the rug. You can find the video here.

Sudpresse reports about the demonstration on March 8 and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele’s speech saying that “Complaints that are older than six months cannot be heard. They go through the CESI, an authority paid by UCLouvain to cover this kind of problem. But the reading of a file sometimes takes more than six months, the complaints are then no longer admissible.” “This system is deeply unhealthy, concludes professor van Ypersele.”


FEBRUARY 2022

De Morgen is the first newspaper in Belgium to expose abuse of power at the Belgian universities. The newspaper quotes the Institut for Equality between Women and Men stating that there is a file for almost every university in Belgium. Why is this happening? De Morgen writes that 1) “Machtige mannen zwaaien met de plak”, meaning that “Powerful men reign”; 2) “A strong hierarchy complicates speaking up”; 3) “Potjes blijven gedekt”, which translates into the omerta that persists and facts are being covered up. The full article can be found here.