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Antidiscrimination Directive of the University of Cologne

The new version of the Antidiscrimination Directive of the University of Cologne was adopted in 2022.

The previously applicable guideline for dealing with discrimination, sexualized violence and bullying was revised and passed by the rectorate and senate with the new title "Antidiscrimination Directive of the University of Cologne". The changes include, among other things, a clearer distinction between initial contact, advice and complaints, an adaptation of terms to the legal text of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) and an expansion of the contact points in the case of racial discrimination.

What is the purpose of the Directive on Discrimination, Sexual Violence and Bullying?

The Directive on Discrimination, Sexualised Violence and Bullying represents an overarching, binding and transparent set of rules for the procedure concerning discrimination cases at the UoC. It serves as a guideline for the numerous counselling and contact points, supports and encourages those affected and emphasises the responsibility of the management level.

"Discrimination entails degradation, contempt, disregard, exclusion or violence against persons on the basis of factual or attributed group-specific characteristics such as gender (which includes both legal gender and identification gender), sexual orientation/identity, race, disability/illness, religion/belief, age or on the basis of further individual differentiation characteristics (e.g. appearance, institutional membership in an organisation). Multiple discrimination occurs when persons belong to several disadvantaged groups simultaneously and find themselves in situations of discrimination on more than one ground."

"Bullying is a conflict-laden communication or act between or among one or more parties in which the person concerned is inferior and is repeatedly and systematically excluded or directly or indirectly attacked by one or more persons, often over a longer period of time. This behavior includes: system- atic spreading of discrediting rumors, systematic denial of information relevant to studies or work, and insults, offensive and humiliating treatment."

Cyberbullying is defined as insulting, threatening, exposing, harassing, coercing, defaming or harassing people using communication media, such as smart phones, e-mails, websites, forums, chats, communities or video conferences.

Contents of the Directive

The directive contains a clarification of the duties of the university management and of persons with management responsibilities. Consultation and complaint procedures are specified and possible sanctions for employees and students are identified. Furthermore, the directive contains a list of possible contact points, measures for prevention and sensitisation and a regulation for the anonymous data collection of discrimination cases at the UoC.


The directive was developed as part of a sub-project of the audit "Shaping Diversity", which was successfully completed by the UoC at the beginning of 2019. It is based on the earlier Guideline on Sexualised Discrimination and anti-discrimination guidelines of other universities. A number of bodies were involved in the development process, including the Gender Equality Officer, students, the legal department and other consultants.

Procedural steps and possible sanctions

The directive distinguishes between informal and formal procedures. The former includes steps which serve to advise and support those affected, but which may also result in mediation or the initiation of a formal procedure. The latter is a complaint procedure which can result in a confidential examination of the allegations and, if necessary, the initiation of further measures.

The types of sanctions depend on the severity of the offence and are examined on a case-by-case basis. It is known from the experience of counselling centres that in most cases a regulatory discussion is sufficient. However, sanctions such as warnings, bans on the use of the premises or the initiation of disciplinary proceedings are also possible.


Counseling and complaint channels in the event of discrimination at the University of Cologne

Are you experiencing discrimination or bullying at the University of Cologne? The following graphics show how you can proceed to get (if you need) support and what the procedure for a complaint of discrimination looks like.
Counseling centers in the event of discrimination are summarized here for you. If you are unsure who to contact or how to proceed Dr. Rahab Njeri, Department Gender & Diversity Management, offers initial and referral counseling (, 0221 470-89082).

"Sexualized violence is defined as all behaviour and conduct which is discriminatory, offensive or humiliating from a sexual viewpoint and which results in the dignity of the person concerned being violated. This behaviour includes: sexualized non-verbal and verbal communication, degrading sexualized representations, and physical assaults."

expand: Counseling and complaint channels in the event of discrimination
expand: Procedure for discrimination complaints

Possibilities of action

For those seeking advice: Information sheet "What to do in case of discrimination?"

For consultants: Action guideline for initial interviews

A barrier-free version of the information sheet "What to do in the event of discrimination", as well as the "Action guide for initial interviews" can be found in  Accessible Download.