SEBS Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination (SAHAD) standing committee was established in the summer of 2020 following revelations of discrimination, harassment, and bigotry experienced by a number of alumni during their time at Budhanilkantha. These revelations were followed by three surveys that uncovered 169 episodes of racism, sexism, colorism, homophobia, classism, bullying, and other identity-based discriminations occurring within Budhanilkantha walls. These experiences were consistent across all the batches – old and new. Recognizing the severity of the issue and the urgency of a solution, the 37th AGM of Society of Ex-Budhanilkantha Students (SEBS) established SAHAD to explore, understand, and develop policies and programs that advance diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in Budhanilkantha School, and protect students (and staff) from potential discrimination, bullying, and harassment. The work also expands SEBS’ non-negotiable stands against harassment as outlined in SEBS Anti-Harassment Policy.
The committee works in close collaboration with the school and other stakeholders including SEBS and FOBS, to research and design evidence-based interventions and solutions to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in Budhanilkantha School. We believe in a collaborative and participatory approach to co-design solutions to promote Budhanilkantha School as a safe and respectable space for all members. We will consider our work successful if every student, staff and faculty member at Budhanilkantha School can pursue their academic, social and other activities, in a diverse, inclusive and just setting without fear, intimidation, discrimination and harassment. This is impossible without the active engagement and support of Budhanilkantha School’s management, students, faculty, and staff members. Our work also expands to and depends on the cooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders of Budhanilkantha School, like SEBS and FOBS. Further, the committee understands its limitations on thematic areas like psychosocial counseling and legal support to survivors. Therefore, we understand the role of experts (individuals and organizations) in our work as and when necessary.
Our interventions are primarily guided by principles of:
- Social Justice and Progressive Education: Considering that Budhanilkantha School aims to be a center of excellence in education, its future lies in creating a progressive culture that is not limited to empowering students with 21st-century skills, but also expanding it to responsible citizenship and social justice. Both social justice education and progressive education-based interventions will be at the core of our working philosophy.
- Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE): Emphasizing on the importance of CSE, the UNFPA’s 2010 report on Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Advancing Human Rights, Gender Equality and Improved Sexual and Reproductive Health, “underscored” that sexuality education should: foster norms and attitudes and build skills for achieving gender equality; address vulnerabilities and fight exclusion; promote young people’s participation and strengthen capacities for citizenship; encourage local ownership and cultural relevance, and take a positive life-cycle approach to equality. Considering that most of the problems we have identified surround an individual’s sexual and gender identity, we plan to keep CSE at the center of our potential interventions.
- Prevention, Protection, and Support: We non-negotiably reject bigotry, discrimination, violence, and intimidation of any kind (age, gender, ethnicity, religion/faith, culture, race, physical and cognitive ability, sexual orientation, and others). Our interventions will focus on both long-term behavioral changes and short-term policy interventions that aim to prevent potential harassment and discrimination and to protect victims, survivors, and whistleblowers.