On 30 March 2019, the Okinawa Times published an article about an anonymous online survey conducted to examine the workplace environment at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). The survey claims to demonstrate widespread discontent and harassment at OIST. OIST wants to make clear that this is not an official survey conducted by the University and that OIST does not tolerate any form of harassment.
As stated in the Okinawa Times article, the respondents to the unofficial survey are limited. Only 78 current and former staff members are included out of more than 1700 current and former employees affiliated with OIST.
The University reviews and responds to all complaints about harassment through its established channels. OIST is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and respectful environment in which all members are treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with the OIST Respectful Workplace Policy. The Respectful Workplace Policy is a core value of the University, and the University will not tolerate disrespectful communication, discrimination, harassment, or bullying, in any form. If an OIST staff member or students experiences or witnesses a violation of the Respectful Workplace Policy, such as sexual, power, or other forms of harassment, they can report or consult about such incidents with either the confidential external Respectful Workplace and Anti-Harassment hotline (RWAH hotline), the Vice President for Gender Equality and Human Resources (VPGEHR) or the Dean of Graduate School (DGS).
Sexual harassment prevention training is mandatory for all OIST members. All faculty, students, and staff at OIST are also encouraged to attend a seminar related to the “Respectful Workplace Policy,” which explain the hotline, the availability of VPGEHR or DGS for reporting and consultation, and the procedure for dealing with such incidents.
OIST policy is that all University employees and students can seek a resolution to any harassment incident with confidentiality and privacy. In order to keep the process confidential and private, OIST does not publish any information related to reported or consulted incidents. OIST intends to initiate an independent survey of workplace environment.