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Bristol University hockey team vows to press on ‘until every member is properly protected’

Bristol University Ladies Hockey Club (UBLHC) has expressed disappointment on SU’s response to its open letter.

By Milan PereraDeputy Editor

Bristol University Ladies Hockey Club (UBLHC) has expressed its disappointment at the statement issued by the University of Bristol Student Union (SU) following UBLHC’s open letter addressed to the SU raising concern on the SU's Code of Conduct on sexual assault.

In the open letter, the club expressed its grave concerns about the SU policies that do not guarantee an immediate suspension of a society member and the lack of measures in place for societies to suspend their members who are under investigation for sexual assault, which the group said, ‘leaves students vulnerable and unprotected.’

The SU has stated that the concerns raised by the UBLHC are taken ‘very seriously’.

In a statement issued it said: ‘We take the concerns laid out by UBLHC very seriously. We have appointed an independent third party to support us to review and address the points raised by UBLHC about our processes and the Code of Conduct carefully and in full, and we have agreed to engage with UBLHC during that process.

‘As with any ongoing formal complaint, we are limited in what we can say until the review is complete and recommendations have been made.’

Bristol SU has stated that it takes the concerns raised by UBLHC ‘very seriously’ - Milan Perera

However, the Women’s Hockey Club has expressed its disappointment at the statement in an Instagram post and said: ‘We have submitted 12 complaints dating from March last year. We have seen no change. Therefore, we will keep pressure on until we get the change we want and the change our players deserve.’

The club further added that it is not just about the women’s hockey team but the 22,000 SU member students who are ‘bound by its Code of Conduct.’ It said: ‘The SUs lack of resources and guidance when it comes to sexual violence affects every single member of the SU, male or female, survivor or ally.’

Speaking to Epigram, UBLHC said: ‘UBLHC submitted its first official complaint against the SU on the 21/03/2023. For the last two academic years, we have been working tirelessly to protect our players, while the SU has been actively working against us.

‘The SU chief executive and Pat the SU sports officer have both replied with what, we believe are unsatisfactory responses. We are sick and tired of being let down by false promises from the SU.’

UBLHC also pointed to the ‘overwhelming’ support it has received for the open letter. It said: ‘We are clearly not alone in our thoughts. As of 16:30, 06/03 we have had 2000 signatures in 12 hours, and currently have 2705 signatures, 53 of those signatures being from society presidents and our letter has been shared by 60 different societies on Instagram stories.’

It added: ‘We are athletes, not activists but we will not stop until every single member of our club is properly protected.'

The SU was approached for comment following the response of UBLHC on SU’s original statement regarding the open letter.

Featured image: Damien Gaudet via Unsplash

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