Decision by the disciplinary board regarding reported student2023-10-12
A student enrolled in the course “Intercultural studies: race and whiteness in Sweden” at Karlstad University was reported for harassment and disruption of teaching. The disciplinary board has now decided that no disciplinary measure be taken. Two members of the board have dissenting opinions.
The disciplinary board received two reports against the student. One report from a fellow student and one from a student association. The reports argue that the student should be suspended for having disrupted teaching as well as harassing and discriminating against other students through publications in social media, among other things.
The disciplinary board writes in its decision (Dnr C2023/22) that the reported student has evidently exposed both students and the course coordinator to harassment through violations in the form of, for example, mockery and insulting language online and in social media. However, there is no ground to suspend the student based on the provisions of the Higher Education Ordinance.
With regard to disrupting teaching, the disciplinary board notes that the reported student’s posts and comments online and in social media, primarily targeting the course coordinator, can be considered offensive and inconsiderate, but that they are not of a serious enough nature to justify disciplinary measures. Nor is the fact that the reported student appeared to be filming a lecture sufficient for disciplinary action.
The disciplinary board has therefore decided that no disciplinary measure be taken.
Dissenting opinions of two board members have been noted.
One of the members disagrees with the justification for the decision and argues that the decision should be based on the provisions of the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. These are above other laws and give the reported student extensive freedom of expression.
The second member – the vice-chancellor and chair of the disciplinary board – dissents from the decision itself. The reported student’s actions, as a whole and in the context that they took place, should be regarded as disruptive activities.