Tasks of the Committee for Equality Issues (CEI)
Pursuant § 42 University Act 2002, the University for Continuing Education Krems is obligated to establish a Committee for Equality Issues (CEI). Its task is to counteract discrimination by university bodies on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion or ideology, age or sexual orientation and to advise and support university members and bodies in these matters.
Its legally defined tasks and rights are executed by one member individually or two members or by the CEI as a committee.
What is the Committee for Equality Issues responsible for?
1. Unequal Treatment and Discrimination
The CEI counteracts unequal treatment and discrimination mainly by supporting recruiting processes. Furthermore, the committee exercises right of control in other personnel matters (e.g. promotions, continuing professional development, awarding honorary titles) and monitors appointment procedures. If it suspects discrimination, the CEI can call the arbitration committee at Danube University Krems or apply for a formal assessment of the unequal treatment incident by the Federal Equal Treatment Commission.
2. Counseling and Advice
The CEI provides advice and counselling in equal treatment issues, mobbing and (sexual) harassment. These advisory services are available to university members for issues related to the equality of men and women, equal treatment in accord with B-GIBG, advancement of women as well as collegiate bodies. Counteracting discrimination and monitoring equal treatment affects advice and counselling with regard to gender-specific discrimination as well as advising on anti-discrimination, i.e. equal treatment regardless of ethnicity, religion, ideology, age or sexual orientation. The commission, as a university collegiate body that provides advice and monitors equal treatment, therefore supports the implementation of the Advancement of Women Decree. If necessary, it prepares statements on university regulations and submits suggestions for improvement.
The CEI is involved in inner and inter-university task forces (ARGE University Women) and networks and provides information about gender-neutral language, gender mainstreaming and advancement of women.
The CEI’s activities are documented in the annual activity report for the University Council and the Rectorate.
For whom is the Committee for Equaliy Issues responsible?
- As and when required, the CEI represents academic staff (including external staff), administrative staff, professors and students as members of the university.
What powers does the CEI have to carry out its mandate?
The CEI can exercise the following rights:
- Right to inspect all documents and data required for the committee to perform its tasks.
- Right to appeal to the Arbitration Commission.
- The Committee’s chair must be heard at University Council meetings on points in the daily agenda affecting the CEI’s sphere of responsibility.
- Right to draft a suggestion for the university’s Advancement of Women Plan.
- Right to be informed of all inner university matters insofar as these are required by the Committee to fulfill its legal obligations.
- Right to issue statements on proposed laws and regulations in connection with university law, equal treatment and related areas.
- Members are instruction-free and independent.
- Committee members are not hindered from exercising their powers and do not suffer professional disadvantages due to the work they perform.
What can victims of unequal treatment or discrimination rely on?
- The Committee members act instruction-free and independently.
- They are bound by official secrecy, treat problems brought before them with discretion and confidentiality (advice, information, support.)
- If requested by the affected persons, specific cases will be brought to the attention of the appropriate university bodies.
What formal sanctions are possible?
- If the Committee has reason to believe that a decision made by a university body discriminates against someone on the basis of their gender, it is authorized to appeal to the Arbitration Committee within two weeks. The latter makes the final decision.
- Important: if the Committee’s complaint affects a decision relating to a significant change to, or termination of, an employment or education agreement, the university body’s decision will become invalid and/or not effective until the Arbitration Commission’s final ruling.