The Commissions on Gender-Based Violence and on Ethics publish their conclusions

Read their conclusions
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The two commissions dedicated to the fight against gender-based and sexual violence and to fostering ethics within Sciences Po submitted the conclusions of their work to the Acting President Bénédicte Durand on Tuesday, 4 May 2021.

> Read the report of the commission on gender-based and sexual violence (fr)

> Read the report of the commission on ethics (fr)

Since the establishment of these two commissions on 17 February 2021, the chairpersons, Danièle Hervieu Léger and Catherine de Salins, as well as the various members, have worked independently with remarkable commitment to learn the lessons of the crisis experienced by Sciences Po in recent months.

In their respective reports, the commissions have drawn up a detailed analysis of the ethical mechanisms and the structures to tackle gender-based and sexual violence within the institution, and formulate concrete and ambitious recommendations in order to strengthen these mechanisms.

Bénédicte Durand expressed her gratitude to the member of the commissions and announced a provisional timetable for the implementation of these recommendations

The quality of the proposals I have received allows me to affirm the commitment I made before you to present an implementation plan as soon as possible. We will propose an approach and a timetable for implementation before the end of the current academic year. From the beginning of the next academic year, we wish to reinforce our mechanism for listening to and supporting victims, and to overhaul the disciplinary procedure.

Bénédicte Durand also expressed her willingness to engage in a similar reflection on the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of discrimination in the institution. “Just as a stop must be put to gender-based and sexual violence, hatred of the Other, for whatever reason, must be prevented, combated, and sanctioned relentlessly at Sciences Po”.


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Gender-based and sexual violence: what are the goals of the commission?

Interview with the head of the commission, Danièle Hervieu-Léger
  • Danièle Hervieu-Léger ©DRDanièle Hervieu-Léger ©DR

On 17 February, Sciences Po's Acting President Bénédicte Durand announced the creation of a commission focusing on the fight against gender-based and sexual violence in our institution. The commission consists of twenty members, including representatives of the student, faculty and employee communities. It will submit its conclusions in early May, after two months of work. Its President, sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Léger, explains its mission and objectives. 

What are the objectives and the scope of the commission on the fight against gender-based and sexual violence? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: It is a dual approach. First, we have an immediate and concrete objective: to make proposals to strengthen the means already invested within Sciences Po in the fight against gender-based and sexual violence. I am talking about both the means and procedures that are offered to victims to rebuild their lives, and the awareness-raising and educating actions necessary to create a culture of dignity and respect within the institution, which will reduce the occurrence of such violence. I understand this term to mean all forms of violence: misdemeanor and criminal offenses as well as more pervasive or surreptitious forms. The commission will make concrete proposals: we will go beyond statements. But we also want to open a wider focus: the idea is to go deeper into the analysis of relational contexts that can lead to toxic situations. 

Do you have examples of these toxic situations? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: We are going to work on power relations that are conducive to the emergence of situations of domination. They can appear in different forms in a university context, in all communities. There can be situations of violence between students linked to risky social contexts, to festive events which are a part of student life. Violence can also appear in unequal power relationships that can develop between a doctoral student and her director, a department head and administrative staff, etc. We do not exclude any possible situation. 

How will you involve the different communities, and in particular the student community, which is very active on these issues? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: We are aware of the expectations of the student community: they are represented within the commission by their elected union representatives. But we will also hear from all the associations that have taken up the issue, in Paris and on the regional campuses. These hearings will give all the communities concerned the opportunity to make their voices heard: not only the students, but also the staff, who are eager to benefit from training and awareness-raising.

Will you be examining the systems set up in other universities, particularly abroad? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: The commission's work includes taking into account the experiences and good practices implemented in other institutions, in France and internationally. Comparison is an important tool for the work of the commission: researcher Maxime Forest will present a study on international experiences to inform us on ways of dealing with these topics. Other hearings are planned on this subject.

As a sociologist of religions, and particularly of Catholicism, you have worked on the problems of sexual violence within the Church: how will this experience and this research help you in your work?

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: Indeed, in my research fields - in Catholicism but not only - I have been confronted with questions of sexual violence and pedocriminality in the religious sphere. I have retained a fundamental point, which concerns all institutions - secular or religious: sexist and sexual violence always emerges in situations of domination and control, which must be analysed in order to understand and prevent this violence. 

You were president of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) from 2004 to 2009. Have you ever had to work on these issues, which nowadays span across the entire field of higher education? 

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: At the time, the topic of gender-based and sexual violence was less present. The focus was on gender equality, and I initiated a mission at EHESS to identify gender bias in the recruitment and promotion of academics. EHESS and Sciences Po are two very different institutions, but both produce knowledge in the social sciences. Their mission is to develop critical knowledge, capable of contributing - in their own way - to the transformation of our world. There are collective expectations on certain subjects and social sciences must provide the tools for understanding these expectations. The topic of gender relations is one of these crucial questions. It questions the different configurations of domination, both hierarchical, physical and symbolic, which organize the relations between men and women.

Is it the role of a university to accompany this transformation of society?

Danièle Hervieu-Léger: Yes, this is perfectly the role of a university of social sciences: it must contribute to forging the critical tools that will enable us to advance the collective understanding of these situations and their evolution. Moreover, every educational institution today has a crucial mission, which is to educate new generations in a culture other than the normalisation and the silencing of gender-based and sexual violence. If I agreed to come out of my retirement to chair this commission, it is because the stakes are very high for an institution like Sciences Po, but also for society.

Interview by Sciences Po editorial team.

About Danièle Hervieu-Léger

Sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Léger is a graduate of Sciences Po and of the faculty of Law (Paris-Assas). She holds a doctorate in sociology from EHESS and in literature and humanities from the University Paris-Descartes. She began her career at the Sociology of Religion Group of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), as research fellow and then as Director from 1974 to 1992. Professor (Director of Studies) emeritus of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), she directed the Centre d'études interdisciplinaires des faits religieux from 1993 to 2004, before becoming its President from 2004 to 2009.

A specialist in the sociology of religion, Danièle Hervieu-Léger has devoted most of her research to the sociological description and theoretical interpretation of religious modernity in Christianity. Among her works: Le temps des moines ; clôture et hospitalité (PUF, 2017) - Le pèlerin et le converti : la religion en mouvement (Flammarion, 2001).

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Back to School 2020: a "dual campus" model

Discover the modalities for the Fall 2020 semester
  • Student in the library © Paul Rentler / Sciences PoStudent in the library © Paul Rentler / Sciences Po

In response to the uncertainty facing universities worldwide with regards to the start of the next academic year, Sciences Po is mobilising to guarantee all its students as complete and demanding an education as ever. Sciences Po remains faithful to the university’s vocation of training free, critical and socially engaged minds, intellectually informed through research and interaction with professionals at the heart of our teaching. It is this wholesome and well-balanced education that will give you the means to act in a world more uncertain now than ever.

A new and innovative system will allow us to open the entirety of the university’s courses to all 14,000 students enrolled in them, as of the 14 September 2020.

In compliance with all new health regulations, Sciences Po will continue to promote the excellence of its courses and will base its new start to the academic year on three central principles:

  • Equality of access for all students to their courses, regardless of their location.
  • Hybridity of course content, which will combine remote learning and on-campus teaching.
  • Adaptability, so that all courses can be adapted according to the evolution of the health situation.

A new and adapted start to the academic year, following the “dual campus” model

Throughout the entire Autumn Semester 2020, all Sciences Po students will have access to a dual campus:

  • A digital campus, providing all course content in a variety of formats, adapted to each class. Any student will be able to complete their entire course remotely.
  • A physical campus, in the seven cities where Sciences Po is lucky enough to be based, will be open and will focus on student activities in small groups: course sessions, tutorials, group projects, small group work, supervised community activities, etc. This physical campus will, of course, remain connected to the rest of the community in order to guarantee the participation of students unable to reach our premises.

This dual campus will combine the advantages of digital and face-to-face teaching by linking them closely. It will remain flexible, so as to offer the most complete and rewarding academic experience possible, including for those who are geographically distant and regardless of how long that distance lasts. It will give special attention to the events of all kinds that punctuate life at our institution and ensure the continuity of Sciences Po’s rich student life for all. Emphasis will be placed on personalised support, in both teaching and technical matters, so as to offer all students optimal access to the digital campus.

This system will build on experience gathered since the end of February, with measures adopted across the board as of the 23 March, during which time all Sciences Po courses have been conducted remotely.

The academic staff of the Undergraduate College and each of the Graduate Schools will provide further information by mid-June regarding the pre-back to school terms as well as the curricula and course modules to be offered for the next academic year.

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Useful Resources and training sessions

Documents and tutorials for getting started with hybrid pedagogy
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To help you prepare for the start of the new academic year, we have created a Guide to Deploying Hybrid Pedagogy. In this guide you will find practical guidelines, information sheets and tutorials to help you design and deliver your courses.

The guides provided during last spring semester, Remote Teaching and Teaching Remote Classes remain useful and complementary to design courses which will take place exclusively online.

Important: Consult the legal information and cookies settings of the videoconference tool Zoom at Sciences Po.

Please note: all documentation provided is accessible via your Sciences Po email account and password.

For more specific information, do not hesitate to contact the pedagogical teams or the Institute for Skills and Innovation’s educational design and technology team at the following address

Your digital pedagogical tools

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Covid-19: Letter to our Communities

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Olivier Duhamel and Frédéric Mion address our communities
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Frédéric Mion, Director of Sciences Po, and Olivier Duhamel, President of the FNSP, address our communities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in this communication sent on March 16, 2020. For the latest updates on the situation at Sciences Po and frequently asked questions, visit our Covid-19 Information page.

Dear students, faculty and colleagues,

Over the last few weeks, Sciences Po, like our entire country, has been mobilised to deal with an unprecedented phenomenon, the coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic.

Following the announcements made by the French President and Prime Minister, and in accordance with the instructions we have received from the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, as of today, all Sciences Po sites in Paris and the regional campuses will be closed until further notice.

In these grave and exceptional circumstances, please be assured that Sciences Po, in all its constituent parts, is fully mobilised around one essential objective: ensuring the continuity of the essential activities of our institution while preserving the health of all.

You have already been informed of the various arrangements that we have made so far. The Sciences Po teams continue to develop and implement the changes necessary to ensure the smooth running of our institution.

Most importantly, we would like to thank each and every one of you for the patience, understanding, spirit of responsibility and solidarity you have shown since the beginning of this crisis. These virtues will no doubt, alas, be put to further good use in the days and weeks to come. We have no doubt that you will continue to deploy them.

We would also like to express our deepest gratitude and pay tribute to the teams at Sciences Po who have been working tirelessly with admirable dedication, to ensure that our institution can continue to fulfil its mission.

The ordeal that we are currently experiencing goes far beyond the confines of our institution and our communities. It requires us to demonstrate composure, adaptability and a sense of innovation, so that the educational, scientific and intellectual life of our institution may continue in new ways. It also demands that we rally around Sciences Po's fundamental values: knowledge, reflection, debate, exchange and sharing.

With sincere and warm regards,

Olivier Duhamel                      Frédéric Mion
President of the FNSP             Director of Sciences Po

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Covid-19: Latest Updates from Sciences Po and Frequently Asked Questions

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