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“ZHAW Respect” campaign

Sexual Harassment Awareness Day 2023

The ZHAW supports the Swiss universities' nationwide Sexual Harassment Awareness Day on 23 March 2023 to send a clear signal for the protection of personal integrity.

Together with numerous universities, we are committed to a harassment-free university environment.

To kick things off, all ZHAW employees are invited to an internal information event with ZHAW experts. This will take place on 14 March 2023, and registration is possible via the Intranet.

Code of Conduct

The ZHAW is one of the leading universities of applied sciences in Switzerland. We offer a broad spectrum of programmes that bring together experts from a wide variety of disciplines. The ZHAW employs just over 3,400 people, who are involved in research, service provision and the teaching of over 14,700 students. People with different sociocultural backgrounds and experiences come together at our university to learn and work together. The resulting variety of backgrounds and perspectives enrich us as individuals and as an organisation, making us more innovative and inclusive.

«We cultivate a university culture that focuses on dialogue as well as on the ability to reflect and to deal with conflict.” We consider it essential to offer everyone at our university a good learning and working atmosphere. This is why respect and mindfulness are the focus of our activities. At the ZHAW, there is zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour such as discrimination, violence, bullying and sexual harassment.»

Jean-Marc Piveteau, President

Our attitude

If conflict occurs, it is important to address it early on and to find constructive solutions. At the ZHAW, there is zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour. Inappropriate behaviour includes discrimination, threats and violence, bullying and sexual harassment. This is set out in the “ZHAW Regulations on the Protection against Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Bullying.” Anyone who violates these regulations will be subject to legal and disciplinary consequences. The ZHAW offers a wide range of services to help in cases of conflict, to counteract inappropriate behaviour and to set boundaries at an early stage. The addresses of counselling centres and the “ZHAW Regulations on the Protection against Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Bullying” can be found here.

Our culture – mindful, respectful and diverse.

«With this campaign, we aim to remove taboos and raise even greater awareness of the topic itself as well as of our various counselling services. Intrusive and disparaging behaviour often causes stress, anger and feelings of powerlessness in those affected or involved. Seeking help early is worth the effort. Our internal and external counselling centres offer professional support that is confidential and free of charge.»

Svenja Witzig, Head of Diversity Unit

What can each individual do?

Everyone must do their part to ensure good relations at the ZHAW. This applies as much to professors, lecturers, research staff, assistants, administrative and technical staff as to students. Everyone at the university is a part of the organisation as a whole and contributes to creating a good working atmosphere. It is important to pay attention and help others.

If someone is affected by or observes harassment and can do so, they should immediately and clearly draw the inappropriateness of the behaviour to the attention of the perpetrator. If this is not possible or if there is no improvement once the inappropriate behaviour has been pointed out, they should speak to a person in charge or seek assistance from the relevant counselling centre.

Solving conflicts, providing help, setting boundaries.

«The ZHAW would like all employees and students to find the necessary social courage to call attention to disrespectful behaviour. Management staff and lecturers, in particular, are required to fulfil their role model function in order to avoid inappropriate situations of any kind and to rectify them where necessary.»

Armin Dittli, Director Human Resources

Contact our advisory services early on.

«Our broad spectrum of counselling services allows us to support students and employees early on and to offer help in differentiated ways. In cases of work-related and private crises, we recommend our psychological counselling, which offers individual support. For conflicts at the workplace, an external, independent counselling centre offers professional help. At the request of those affected, there is also the possibility to address conflicts together with everyone involved. If you have any questions on discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment, the Diversity Unit provides help on a confidential basis.»

Imke Knafla, Director Psychological Counseling Center

What is inappropriate behaviour?


Discrimination is disparagement of or unfairness towards students or staff due to their gender, physical or psychological disabilities, ethnic origin, skin colour, religion, political views, sexual orientation, gender identity, family situation, age, marital status or any other central personal characteristics.

Violence / threats

Violence and threats are activities causing other people to feel attacked, threatened, or psychologically or physically injured during their studies or at work. Such activities include verbal and non-verbal insults, humiliation, abuse, threats, social exclusion or the deliberate and persistent persecution or harassment of a person.


Bullying is behaviour that is systematically discriminatory, hostile and persistent over a long period of time and that aims to victimise, exclude or pressure another person. Examples are deliberate disparagement, refusal to provide information, assignment to offensive tasks or unjustified criticism.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment manifests itself in advances of a sexual nature that are unwelcome and perceived as threatening by the person concerned. Harassment can be done with words, gestures or actions, possibly involving promises of advantages or threats of disadvantages. Sexual harassment is behaviour that violates the dignity of other people during their studies or at work. The crucial factor is not the intention of the harasser, but how their conduct is perceived by the person concerned.

The following counselling centres can help you if you have been affected by or are aware of inappropriate behaviour. Do not hesitate to seek help early.

Counselling centres ZHAW

Discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment
Diversity Unit
+41 58 934 75 66

Conflicts at the workplace
External, independent counselling

Psychological counselling
Psychological counselling centre
+41 (0)58 934 83 30

Violence / threats
Safety and security
Counselling: +41 58 934 65 50
Emergency (ZHAW 24-hour emergency number): +41 58 934 70 70