Statement of Solidarity with Survivors of Sexual Harassment at the Centro de Estudos Sociais (CES) and elsewhere

We send our solidarity to those brave colleagues who used a book chapter to reveal endemic abuse of power, in this case facilitated through sexual, moral and psychological harassment, at the Centro de Estudos Sociais (CES), associated with University of Coimbra, Portugal, by senior colleagues. We recognise the immense bravery necessary to reveal such abuse in the context of toxic heteronormative patriarchy where, as the #MeToo movement revealed, survivors of gender-based violence are routinely silenced, and if they dare to raise their voices, are too often simply not believed.  

We would also like to highlight a few key concerns that we feel directly relate to the focus of our network. The first and most obvious is that these accusations were levelled against an academic colleague, who has now been suspended, whose scholarly work sits at the heart of decolonial thought. We are angry and dismayed that a scholar whose academic credentials have been built on the language of ‘decolonisation’ would stand accused of an abuse of power that is the very antithesis of what ‘decolonisation’ must embody, which is not merely a theoretical idea but for all of us about action that embodies the principles and practices of care, solidarity and pluriversality, and the dismantling of oppressive and asymmetrical power structures.  

Secondly, whilst we stand in solidarity with our colleagues at CES, we are nonetheless keen to avoid a focus on personal failings of specific individuals. We wish to point to the impassioned and embodied ways forward set out by concerned decolonial feminists, and supported by members of the COST Action network, in the ‘We All Know’ Manifesto. We support the Manifesto’s strong statement on how predation, harassment and intimidation are embedded in the capitalist structures of higher education institutions so that these forms of gender(ed) violence persist in ways that it is difficult to name and overcome. 

We call on all feminists in European institutions of Higher Education to support our brave colleagues who were, and still are, at CES and to continue to push forward discussions in Higher Education institutions to end structural gender-based violence and endemic abuse of power. 


Dr. Julia Schöneberg, Interim Professor, University of Kassel, Germany 

Dr. Lata Narayanaswamy, University of Leeds, UK 

Professor Wendy Harcourt, ISS Erasmus University Rotterdam, NL 

Dr. Jelena Vićentić 

Dr Kalpana Wilson, Birkbeck, University of London, UK 

Dr Su-ming Khoo, Associate Professor, School of Political Science and Sociology, University of Galway, Ireland and Visiting Professor, Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation, Nelson Mandela University 

Dr. Paola Minoia, Associate Professor, University of Turin, Italy and Adjunct Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland 

Dr. Amitangshu Acharya, Lecturer, Water Governance, IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education, Netherlands 

Dr. Sebastian Garbe, University of Applied Sciences Fulda, Germany 

Dr. Benno Herzog, University of Valencia, Spain 

Professor Jorge Garcia-Arias, University of Leon, Spain, and SOAS, UK 

Professor Seema Arora-Jonsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences 

Professor Anna Khakee, University of Malta 

Lívia de Souza Lima, University of Bielefeld 

Dr hab. Inga Kuźma, associate professor at University of Łódź, Poland   

Dr. Juan Telleria, assistant professor, University of the Basque Country, Spain 

Dr. Graham Finlay, University College Dublin 

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