About the Culture of Respect

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About the Culture of Respect

The nature of the medical university implies its special role in society, due to the care and protection of life, health and human dignity, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, social status, sexual orientation, health condition, social position and other factors. The great values of the Medical University of Gdańsk is its significant internationalization and the resulting multicultural academic environment, which enrich us and help our entire academic community grow and develop better and stronger.

For many years, we have ensured that all our students, employees and patients find favourable and friendly conditions for learning, scientific and personal development, as well as recovery, at our University and academic hospitals. Each of us is a unique individual, but we are united by mutual respect and kindness, regardless of all and any differences between us. We have managed to accomplish a lot so far, but we are aware that there are still areas that require improvement – we realized it, among others, during the Black Lives Matter campaign in the USA and through the response it triggered in our academic community.

Dr Habil. Tomasz Smiatacz; photo: Paweł Sudara/MUG
Dr Habil. Tomasz Smiatacz; photo: Paweł Sudara/MUG

With the beginning of the new academic year 2020/2021, we intend to initiate an action at the MUG to improve the quality of interpersonal relations, promote the milieu of mutual understanding, respect and empathy, and prevent any forms of discrimination, both inside and outside the university space. The initiators of the information and education campaign called Culture of Respect is a team led by the Vice-Rector for Student Affairs Dr Habil. Tomasz Smiatacz and including: Ewa Kiszka, M.A. – Head of the Department of Internationalization, Joanna Śliwińska, M.A., Ph.D. – Head of the Communication Unit and Jacek Kaczmarek, M.D., Ph.D. – MUG’s representative for international alumni relations. Members of the University Committee for Counteracting Mobbing Problems, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination of Students and Doctoral Students, the Committee for Counteracting Mobbing and representatives of the student community – the University Student Council and student organizations operating at the MUG have also been invited to cooperate. The logo of the campaign was prepared by Magda Boguska from the MUG’s Communication Unit.

Our Initiatives

As part of the campaign we have set up a web-based form to report incidents of discrimination or inappropriate treatment or behaviour. Over the next few months we will present values important for the MUG’s community, which are included in the Code of Ethics of the Medical University of Gdańsk, and good practices in the field of cooperation, inclusion and respect for diversity. We also intend to produce short videos with our students, PhD students and employees of various levels to promote equal treatment, as well as to make the recipients aware of the discriminatory nature of certain behaviors. The faces of the campaign will include faculty staff and teachers (selected, among others, on the basis of their rating in didactic questionnaires), as well as students and doctoral students of various fields of study, representing different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. In cooperation with external experts Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law (PSAL) and the Gdańsk Equal Treatment Council, we will conduct a series of online educational workshops called Faces of Discrimitation, devoted to individual categories and forms of discrimination.

The University is not only a school that provides higher education. By definition, it is a place where we can meet people at different stages of their professional careers and personal lives, and they encounter each other in various ways. The University is a unique place where we can talk openly, freely and honestly. We can discuss all important, interesting, rare or surprising matters – and as a result of the confrontation of different points of view, such encounters can cause progress in both science and the personal development of the participants – says the patron of this initiative Tomasz Smiatacz, MD, PhD, DSc., Vice-Rector for Students’ Affairs.


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We initiate an action at the MUG to improve the quality of interpersonal relations, promote the milieu of mutual understanding, respect and empathy, and prevent any forms of discrimination, both inside and outside the university space. As part of the campaign we have set up a web-based form to report incidents of discrimination or inappropriate treatment or behaviour. Over the next few months we will present values important for the MUG’s community, which are included in the Code of Ethics of the Medical University of Gdańsk, and good practices in the field of cooperation, inclusion and respect for diversity. We also produce short videos with our students, PhD students and employees of various levels to promote equal treatment, as well as to make the recipients aware of the discriminatory nature of certain behaviors. In cooperation with external experts Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law (PSAL) and the Gdańsk Equal Treatment Council, we will conduct a series of online educational workshops called Faces of Discrimitation, devoted to individual categories and forms of discrimination. In terms of promoting culturally sensitive medicine, we will also involve MUG’s medical departments in our activities.

In terms of promoting culturally sensitive medicine, we will also involve MUG’s medical departments in our activities. We would like to extend this type of education to our patients, to increase their tolerance to contact with foreign students or to be examined by them. The goal is to eliminate xenophobic attitudes in the hospital space.

Our plan is to continue our activities for the next 12 months. The knowledge and experience gained during this time will allow us to prepare the university’s standard of anti-discrimination proceedings in the most reliable and complete way possible.

Each of us is different and unique. Nobody is perfect. We differ in the obvious ways (age, skin color, achievements and experiences) and non-obvious, invisible at first glance (religion, sexual orientation, sensitivity, health …). In order for our meetings to be beneficial and enriching for everyone, we should treat each other with respect, not false kindness. Regardless of whatever distinguishes us, we must also be able to listen. We have to work on it constantly and it is worth doing, so that the period spent in the academic community turns not to be a waste of time or source of harm for any of us. This is what this initiative is about. I sincerely encourage all of you to take part in it personally – adds Vice-Rector Smiatacz.

#JoinUs

Please send your ideas, comments or questions concerning the anti-discrimination campaign, whether they are related to problems in this area within our University or related to incidents of discrimination in public space, to the address adteam@gumed.edu.pl.