The University of the South Pacific (USP) Gender Team began its first two- day workshop for 2022 on Laucala Campus for the Human Resource staff members after completing 53 workshop sessions on Sexual Harassment and Bullying with a very high participation rate of attendance in the Regional Campuses.
The workshop’s primary goal was to educate, inform, and guide the staff about the purpose and importance of the Sexual Harassment and Bullying Policies in protecting staff and students’ rights to study, learn, and work in a safe and secure environment. HR staff members are to be at the forefront of advice and create awareness of the policies governing the USP staff and students.
In his opening speech, the Executive Director for People and Workforce Strategy (EDPWS) and the Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, Mr Jone Nemani stressed the importance of knowing the policies which are established to protect and safeguard staff and students so they can learn and work in conducive learning and work environment.
He further added that the University, particularly HR, which is the custodian of the Sexual Harassment and Bullying policies, will ensure there is Zero Tolerance for those who do not comply with the policies.
“HR staff must be aware of the policies because they play an important role in creating awareness of the policies,” added Mr Nemani.
The two-day workshop was well attended, with lively and robust discussions and critical questions and scenarios raised regarding sexual harassment and bullying issues.
An experienced and well-qualified Lawyer, Mr Pita Bulamainaivalu, responsible for all the Sexual Harassment cases at HR., presented the process and procedures for non-compliance with the policies.
Participants commented that; ‘it was a very informative and interesting workshop, and they learned a lot of interesting and new issues about sexual harassment and bullying.”
The workshop emphasises the importance of celebrating the diversity of individual rights and Pacific values, emphasising equity and fairness in the treatment of individual staff and students, and providing access to infrastructure and resources to all who qualify to enter USP. To maximise productivity and success, the USP community must learn to respect others and collaborate with them.
For the next four months, the Team will conduct workshops for the six schools and other sections at Laucala Campus. Concurrently, there will be workshop slots for Student groups, and the Team will also give lectures sessions to large classes.
There is Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment and Bullying, and the USP community must uphold this at all times. We must move from a ‘culture of disrespect and negativity to one of ‘respect and positivity, ‘ a ‘culture of complaints and blame’ to ‘constructive suggestions, partnership, and Action’.