Respectful, trusting and non-discriminatory cooperation between all members and guests is a matter of course for the University of Bonn (Uni Bonn). As part of Uni Bonn, the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) is committed to creating and maintaining a work, learning and research environment where all members feel safe, respected, heard, and protected from any conscious or unconscious acts of sexual harassment, discrimination or bullying. The BCDSS works towards this by raising awareness on discrimination and prejudicial behaviours, training BCDSS members in diversity and equity knowledge and competencies, and by enforcing the protective measures outlined in its’ Antidiscrimination Policy to process violations.

We define discrimination at BCDSS as the unequal treatment of individuals, their subjection to acts of conscious or unconscious degradation, bias, violence, bullying, or explicit and implicit exclusion from work, learning opportunities, or decision-making and feedback processes based on an unjust distinction deriving from one or intersections among several (multiple-discrimination) of the following individual characteristics on age, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender & sexuality, religion or belief, physical and mental ability, and socioeconomic background, or any other relevant social categorisation that forms the basis for these discriminatory acts.

In June 2023 the BCDSS Steering Committee adopted its first comprehensive Antidiscrimination Policy. All BCDSS members are obligated to make themselves aware of the policy’s contents and adhere to its behavioural guidelines.

The BCDSS Antidiscrimination Policy covers acts of bullying, cyberbullying, and discrimination based on age, ethnicity/nationality, race, gender, religion, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, social background: 

BCDSS Antidiscrimination Policy

Antidiskriminierungsrichtlinien des BCDSS

The Policy also refers to the University of Bonn’s ‘Guidelines for Protection against Sexualized Discrimination and Violence’ (available in German and English) to cover acts relating to sexual violence or harassment and responses to such acts. To maintain a respectful, trusting, and non-discriminatory cooperative environment at the Cluster, we also invite new members and guests of the BCDSS to read our Code of Conduct which outlines our expected behaviours and norms.

Uni Bonn’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit  lists various contact points at Uni Bonn where staff and students experiencing sexual violence can seek support.


I’m experiencing discrimination at the BCDSS, what can I do about it?

The BCDSS applies a zero-tolerance policy towards acts of sexual harassment or violence, bullying, discrimination, or any kind of inappropriate behavior whether work-related or personal. We encourage all Cluster members to refrain from committing any acts of discrimination and to recognize and challenge any form of discrimination or violence by utilising the complaints and counselling mechanisms that are available internally at the Cluster, or at the University of Bonn.

The following graphic summarises pathways for discrimination-related support at the BCDSS:

BCDSS Complaints Diagram Mar 2024.jpg

Kindly refer to section ‘IV. Getting Support & Acting Against Discrimination’ of the BCDSS Antidiscrimination Policy to learn more about complaints procedures that are available to you and how to file formal complaints.

If you are unsure of who to contact, how to proceed, kindly reach out to Dima Al Munajed, DEI Coordinator at BCDSS (Email:, Office 3.009, 3rd Floor, Niebuhrstraße 5).

In cases of emergency situations or threats to safety, please contact the Uni Bonn Campus Security directly by telephone on +49 228 73-7444.

Frequently Asked Questions

BCDSS members and guests can talk to the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Representative (s), or any of the Anti-Discrimination Team members. Their contacts are listed in the DEI Team webpage.

Conversations between BCDSS members/guests and the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Representative (s), or Anti-Ddiscrimination Team members about harassment and discrimination experiences are confidential. No information about their identity or the nature of their complaint will be passed on to third parties without prior consent.

Members/guests also have the option to submit complaints/suggestions without approaching anyone directly by dropping their complaint in one of the anonymous complaint’s boxes available in all BCDSS buildings.

Only in situations when there is genuine concern that the complaining person is in immediate danger to themselves, or that they are endangering other dependent persons (such as children), will confidentiality be broken and the appropriate authorities informed at Uni Bonn.

BCDSS members affected by discrimination, sexual harassment or bullying at the BCDSS can make a formal complaint against other members which will result in an official investigation being conducted by the Legal Office (Dezernat 1 “Justiziariat”) at Uni Bonn and possible actions being taken against members exerting the discriminatory/harassing behaviour.

To start formal complaint procedures, first contact the DEI Coordinator at the BCDSS. The DEI Coordinator will make a record of the complaint which will be reviewed and signed by the person(s) filing the complaint. The DEI Coordinator will then inform the Cluster Speaker and BCDSS Managing Director in order to contact the Legal Office (Dezernat 1 “Justiziariat”) at Uni Bonn to conduct the investigation.

You can read more about the process of filing formal complaints and what it entails on in Clause § 6 (Beschwerde und zuständige Stelle) of Universität Bonn’s ‘Guidelines for Protection against Sexualized Discrimination and Violence’ of February 15, 2023.

Mediation is an attempt to resolve discrimination complaints against another person(s) within the BCDSS informally. With mediation it is possible to maintain the anonymity of complaining person(s) as there is no formal investigation of events. The objective of mediation is to raise the awareness of the person(s) causing discriminatory of their behaviour so that solutions can be found to stop the behaviour.

With the consent of the complaining person(s), mediation involves speaking confidentially to the person(s) accused of the discriminatory behaviour by an agreed upon third party (the mediator). The mediator can be the DEI Coordinator at the BCDSS or another person that agrees to assume this responsibility. The person making the complaint can also be part of the mediation discussion if they wish to clarify their perspective themselves.

To initiate a mediation process, please contact the BCDSS DEI Coordinator.

Yes, you can.

You can file a formal complaint yourself by contacting the Legal Office (Dezernat 1 “Justiziariat”) at Uni Bonn directly.

You can also refer to Uni Bonn’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit which lists various contact points at Uni Bonn where staff and students experiencing sexual violence can seek support.

Both are voluntary and open membership DEI Structures at the BCDSS, however they carry out different roles to support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Cluster.

The main function of the DEI Working Group is to review and provide feedback on DEI policies, strategies or tools that are put forward by the DEI Coordinator. For example, the DEI Working Group reviews drafts of the BCDSS Antidiscrimination Policy before they are submitted to the BCDSS Steering Committee for final approval.

The main function of the Antidiscrimination Team is to offer BCDSS colleagues’ confidential advice and initial guidance on discrimination and how to proceed with discrimination complaints. To do this, they must complete trainings on the topic of discrimination and handling discrimination complaints

If you have any further questions, or if you would like to join either or both of these groups, please get in touch with the DEI Coordinator.

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