A project to better understand the nature and extent of sexual misconduct will inform new approaches by the University of Nottingham to tackle misogyny, harassment and hate crime both on- and off-campus.
The project will involve speaking with both staff and students, and the resulting action plan will be led by a new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion which the University is currently recruiting.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West has also extended an invitation to student groups to help develop further action on harassment and hate crime, potentially including additional awareness-raising talks or sexual consent workshops for students, as well as other opportunities to reinforce messaging and tackle myths and misconceptions.
The announcement comes in the wake of the graffiti incident in Florence Boot Hall last month, where University investigations continue. The University has also referred the incident to Nottinghamshire Police for investigation as a potential hate crime.
Professor West said: “I was appalled by the incident last month and witnessed the overwhelming reaction from staff and students, united in condemnation. Misogyny, harassment and hate crime of any sort has no place in our University community or in wider society.
“It is imperative that staff and students feel safe at all times and I know that there has been a lot of hard work already in this area. Education and training are important, as is the provision we have in place to support anyone who is subject to harassment or hate crime.
“But there is more we can and must do and I hope that the measures announced today outline how seriously I take these issues, both personally and as Vice-Chancellor of this University.”
The Estates team is currently reviewing levels of night patrols and lighting around the campus to provide the safest possible environment for staff and students.
University staff and students are also reminded of existing awareness, safety and reporting initiatives in place at the University, for example: ‘Ask for Angela’, Let’s Be Clear on Consent and Stronger Together.
Bystander intervention training is delivered to key people including Welcome Mentors, Sports Club and Society committee members and Hall Tutors, and the Student Community website and video makes clear the standards of behaviour we expect as a University community.
Where incidents do occur, they can be reported in person to the University security team, welfare officers and hall wardens, or through harassment and hate crime webpages, email and mobile app. Offenders should be clear that they are likely to face criminal charges as well as sanctions under the student Disciplinary Code including expulsion from the University.
While reported instances of misogyny, harassment and hate crime remain low in number at the University, one is one too many, and it is hoped that these additional measures will support and reassure our University community, and underscore our positive culture.
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