School of Philosophy and Art History

Counteracting harassment and implicit bias

Commanding change

The School of Philosophy and Art History is taking active steps to counteract both harassment and implicit bias.

Our commitment to gender equality means that we won’t stand on the side-lines when it comes to harassment and implicit bias. Instead we command change so as to eliminate these wrongs, and offer support to those who experience them.

Zero tolerance for harassment, bullying and hate crime

Our School has a zero tolerance approach to any form of violence, harassment, bullying or discrimination based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, disability, political beliefs and affiliations, family circumstances or other irrelevant distinctions.

If you experience serious assault or sexual violence on campus and are in danger, or you witness a serious assault or sexual violence, we encourage you to seek help immediately. You can call or visit the Security and Safety Centre on Square 2.

If you are being harassed or bullied, or if you witness a case of harassment or hate crime, you are strongly advised to report it as soon as possible to the Harassment Report and Support Service:

  • Make a report directly to the Harassment Report and Support Service. It operates from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday during both term time and vacation.
  • You may also make an anonymous report but please note that the University is unable to take any action as a result of receiving anonymous reports.
  • If you prefer, the service can also be contacted directly by email.

  • Discover the support available

Support from the School and University

Our School is committed to supporting any student experiencing harassment or bullying, and if you would like any assistance either before or after making a report, or if you are unsure whether to report an incident, please contact either the School's Women’s Officer, your Personal Tutor, our Head of Department, or email the University’s Harassment Helpline. If you are experiencing hate crime, you can also book an appointment with the Hate Crime Ambassador team.

It is important that you try to make a note or keep a diary of the details of any relevant incidents which distress you. If the harassment has caused you to change the pattern of your work or social life or if it has had any effect on your health, you should include this information as well.

While we recognise that it will not always be possible, you are also advised to make it clear to the person causing offence that such behaviour on that person’s part is unacceptable to you. You may find it easier to do this by letter/email (and you should keep a copy of this). This may in some instances be sufficient to stop it and will help with the University’s investigation and resolution of the incident(s).


Counteracting bias, commanding change

The School of Philosophy and Art History is tackling Implicit Bias head on.

Controlled research studies demonstrate that people typically hold unconscious assumptions about groups of people that influence their judgments about members of those groups in negative ways. This is particularly true for traditionally discriminated-against groups like women, minorities, and disabled people. All people display these biases, including those who belong to the discriminated-against groups. Counteracting these biases requires us to become aware of the ways they might be affecting our assessments of our colleagues, teachers, and students.

Examples of Implicit Bias

  • Recommendation letters for women tend to be shorter, provide ‘minimal assurances’ rather than solid recommendation, raise more doubts, portray women as students rather than professionals, and mention their personal lives more (Trix and Psenka 2003).
  • Job applicants with “white-sounding” names are more likely to be interviewed for open positions than equally qualified applicants with “African-American-sounding” names (Bertrand & Sendhil 2004)
  • When the same CV is randomly assigned a female or a male name, both male and female assessors rate male applicants better in terms of teaching, research, and service experience, and are more likely to hire them (Steinpreis et al 1999).
  • Female post-doc applicants to the Medical Research Council of Sweden needed substantially more publications to achieve the same rating as male applicants (Wenneras & Wold 1997).

Counteracting Implicit Bias

Remember that you are not immune. For example, a recent meta-analysis of 122 research reports (involving a total of 14,900 subjects) revealed that implicit bias scores better predict stereotyping and prejudice than explicit self-reports (Greenwald et al 2009.). 

Promote diversity

Research shows that assumptions are more likely to negatively affect evaluation of women and minorities when they represent a small proportion (less than 25%) of the relevant group. Exposure to “positive” exemplars (e.g. Martin Luther King in history class) decreased implicit bias against Blacks (Dasgupta & Greenwald 2001).

Work on your own prejudice

Awareness of statistical discrepancies between the ideal of impartiality and actual performance – coupled with a commitment to that ideal – helps counteract implicit bias. For example, in one study, a mental imagery exercise of imagining a professional business woman decreased implicit stereotypes of women (Blair et al 2001). Another study suggests that contact with female professors and deans decreased implicit bias against women for college-aged women (Dasgupta & Asgari 2004).


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Get in touch
Harassment Report and Support Service Helpline
Telephone: (+44) 1206 874334
University Hate Crime Ambassadors