surveys are multiplying in higher education, summoned to act

This is the turning point #metoo of the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research (Igésr): by sharing, as a model, Monday September 27, a very detailed guide on the art and the way in which they conduct an administrative investigation liable to disciplinary consequences, the inspectors general want to call upon the heads of higher education establishments to their responsibilities on matters long considered minor or outside the life of a campus.

In 2020-2021, higher education represented 50% of Igsér’s control activities, with twenty-one administrative inquiries out of forty-four. In September 2021, the inspectorate received three new missions in addition to the fifty still in progress. Among them, a majority is linked to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), moral harassment or assaults during integration weekends. Then come the “Brutal and inappropriate management” or the lack of leaders who could have put an end to a scandal, such as that of the Center for the donation of bodies at Paris-Descartes University where former President Frédéric Dardel was finally indicted in June.

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At the level of universities and grandes écoles, administrative inquiries carried out internally by the administration of the establishment – without resorting to Igésr – are a new phenomenon. “A few years ago, we hardly did any and today, some establishments are up to four per year”, illustrates Delphine Gassiot-Casalas, secretary general of the National School of Architecture and Landscape of Bordeaux and president of the national network of legal affairs services, JuriSup, which published, in July, a guide on disciplinary procedures.

Cathartic effect

The year 2021 has had a cathartic effect in the university community and the grandes écoles. The first to pay the price are the institutes of political studies (IEP).

Accused of immobility or even of complicity with the “culture of rape”, they were overwhelmed in February by a flood of testimonies from students, under the hashtag #sciencesporcs, reporting having been raped or assaulted by students or staff, without that no sanction has been pronounced. Immediately, Frédérique Vidal, the Minister of Higher Education, had commissioned an inspection mission, responsible for touring the ten IEPs and the seven campuses of the IEP in Paris.

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Handed over at the end of July, the recommendations of the inspectorate invite us to go beyond simple awareness to professionalize the monitoring and collection missions.

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