Decision follows accusations against professor involved in sex scandal
A mechanism to prevent sexual harassment in colleges and universities will be launched following the confirmation of accusations against a college professor in Beijing, according to the Ministry of Education on Monday.
No details of the mechanism were revealed.
Chen Xiaowu, who lost his position as a professor with Beihang University, was also removed from the list of Changjiang Scholars, a program issued by the Ministry of Education to award individuals with extraordinary academic contributions.
Funds and awards granted to him will be clawed back, according to the ministry.
The ministry said that it has zero tolerance for behaviors violating the norms of being a teacher while encroaching on students' interests.
Chen sexually harassed his former doctoral student Luo Qianqian 12 years ago, and since that story made the news in early January, five other students have come forward.
He was dismissed from his post as executive vice-president of Beihang's Graduate School following the confirmation of accusations on Friday.
So far, college students and alumni of more than 40 universities, including Peking University, Tsinghua University and Sun Yat-sen University, have called for the establishment of a preventive mechanism against sexual harassment.
"It's very important to establish a mechanism in colleges and universities. Institutes of higher learning have higher requirements for teachers than other institutions. It's shocking to see these cases happen in colleges," said Chu Zhaohui, a researcher with the National Institute of Education Sciences.
He said that teachers in many other countries are under the supervision of third-party associations consisting of selected professors and teachers, which accept reports about sexual harassment and offer assistance.
Ruan Chuansheng, a law professor of the Party School of Shanghai CPC Committee, said the mechanism may secure a healthier environment for college students but cannot solve the fundamental problem.
"It's more effective to add a supplemental clause to the laws of higher education to have a teacher's qualifications revoked and be banned for life from any job related to education if there is a confirmation of sexual harassment," he said.
Currently, sexual harassment is only defined in two regulations-the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women and Labor Protection of Female Workers-in China though penalties are not mentioned.