Culture 19/05/2021

Institut del Teatre case: 13 teachers investigated, three of them disciplined and one may face criminal charges

Commission concludes there are indications of sexual harassment from one teacher and inappropriate conduct from another

3 min
Demonstration by the students of the Theatre Institute on 1 March 2021
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BarcelonaThe prevention and investigation commission that the Institut del Teatre activated as a result of the cases of sexual harassment and abuse of power uncovered by the ARA resulted in 13 teachers being investigated, three of whom will be disciplined and one of may face charges of sexual harassment. The names have not been revealed.

Between 22 February and 14 May, the Institut del Teatre received ten complaints from nineteen students and former students about cases of sexual harassment and abuse of power involving thirteen teachers, five of whom are active and eight of whom are retired. Of all the requests received, the commission has only focused on two teachers, because its remit only includes investigation requests submitted by current students or former students who left the institution less than a year ago. The rest have been transferred to the institution's human resources department.

Of the five active teachers, the committee concludes that in one case there is evidence of sexual harassment, in another there is no evidence of harassment but there is evidence of inappropriate behaviour, and in a third there has been an invasive teaching practice. The Institut del Teatre has opened disciplinary proceedings against these three teachers, while the two remaining active teachers have not been disciplined. The commission has investigated the requests received, which only refer to events that took place within the center, and has attached the request of a student made in 2016, before the case broke out.

In the case of the first teacher, the commission considers that there are indications of sexual harassment and therefore the Institut del Teatre will start disciplinary proceedings and an appropriate sanction will be established. Depending on the seriousness of the facts, the teacher could be dismissed. The Institut will also make its findings known to the Public Prosecutor's Office. As for the second teacher, the commission concludes that there is no evidence of sexual harassment but considers that he had inappropriate behaviour in the classroom. For this reason, it will open disciplinary proceedings with the corresponding sanction. The third case is against a teacher for a non-minor offence for invasive teaching practices. For the time being, the three teachers have been removed from the classroom until the three cases are resolved. The Institut del Teatre has not made the names of the accused public, although when the case broke out, precautionary measures were applied and it was reported that Joan Ollé and Boris Dausà had been removed from teaching. The Institut del Teatre will analyse the requests received from eight retired teachers and assess whether it is possible to take legal action. It will also offer accompaniment and psychological support to those affected who choose to file a lawsuit.

With these conclusions, which last Friday were sent to the direction and management of the Institut del Teatre, the first phase is over. Now it will be the centre's management, together with the legal services, who will analyse them on a case-by-case basis. According to sources familiar with the process, the management of the school can go further and take into account all the material collected, including those complaints that, for a matter of time, have not been assessed by the commission. The Institut del Teatre, which is part of the Diputació de Barcelona, is committed to backing any lawsuit by former students against any of the school's teachers. This was stated in an interview with ARA by the provisional general director of the center, Núria Plana, who admits that during these years there have been "unacceptable behaviours that cannot happen again". "There are proven facts of sexual harassment, we will take it to the public prosecutor's office and accompany the affected people who want to continue through the courts," said Plana

The commission for the prevention and investigation of sexual harassment at the Institut del Teatre was activated on February 22, 2021 following the ARA report that uncovered cases of sexual harassment and abuse of power to dozens of students and former students of the center by three teachers. Five days later, the then director as the Institut del Teatre Magda Puyo and the entire management team resigned en bloc. The case also generated numerous demonstrations among the students of the Institut del Teatre and the Síndic de Greuges (Catalan Ombudsman) opened an investigation -which is not yet complete- into the facts.

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