The university and SU have joined forces to create a new campaign focused on creating a zero-tolerance attitude towards sexual harassment, violence, and hate crimes, building on the SU’s already established ‘Never OK’ campaign.
The new campaign comes in response to a report into sexual harassment published by Universities UK (UUK) earlier this year. The report, entitled ‘Changing the Culture’, focused on the need to challenge behaviours and attitudes that underpin sexual harassment.
It recommended a university-wide approach to tackling these problems, which can be seen in the partnership between the university and the SU.
Professor David Richardson, the Vice-Chancellor of UEA, was a member of the UUK taskforce responsible for the decision. Prof Richardson said he “was proud to represent the university and UEA students,” and added: “These issues are vital to helping ensure that our campus is as safe as it can be for everyone.”
The current Never OK campaign, led by the SU, utilises specialist training for student staff and campus-wide posters, aiming to establish a culture of zero tolerance across campus.
Provoked by the UUK report, additions to the campaign include temporary graffiti across campus which highlights key statistics found in the report in order to raise awareness and establish a platform for debate. Students are also encouraged to take part in ‘Consent Matters’ training on the Blackboard site.
The university also intends to implement ‘bystander intervention’ programmes across campus, which will further cement the zero tolerance attitude towards sexual harassment, violence and hate crimes.
The programme is being developed to ‘help students and staff best respond to instances of abuse’, and it will work with specialist partners such as Norfolk Police, Leeway, and the Habour Centre.
UEA SU’s Welfare, Community and Diversity officer India Edwards has suggested there are also plans to extend this campaign beyond campus.
In a blog post she said: “We’re particularly excited to see this roll out across the city, extending our Good Night Out programme to other universities, colleges, night clubs and transport providers.”
Currently, UEA SU’s Good Night Out scheme is used in seven Norwich city venues including Frank’s bar, the Playhouse, and the Waterfront.
Ms. Edwards added: “It’s great that UEA has embraced the Never OK campaign, which we are so passionate about. By working together, each and every person on campus can understand that they have the right to feel safe.”