By Cara Hene, Second Year, Politics and International Relations
The University of Bristol has joined other universities in the West of England to commit to tackling and preventing sexual violence and harassment in a 10-point plan.
On Monday (5 February), the University of Bristol, Bath Spa University, UWE and the University of Bath released their ‘joint commitment’ to deal with sexual violence and harassment to help affected students.
The move comes as Sexual Violence Awareness Week begins.
One of the first pledges reads ‘Sexual violence and harassment will not be tolerated by the Universities or Students’ Unions’.
Subsequent pledges include supporting the reporting of sexual violence and harassment by creating ‘clear reporting channels’, helping students ‘understand consent’ and a commitment to working together across the signatory universities where individuals from more than one of these institutions are implicated.
They also pledged to take a person-centred approach, promising that, ‘You will be heard, listened to, and supported by your University and Students’ Union’.
You can read the full joint commitment here.
The commitment was signed by Evelyn Welch, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, and Bristol’s Student Union, along with the other universities’ respective Vice-Chancellors and SUs.
The universities and students’ unions also released a joint press release to accompany the plan. They said:
‘We believe that all students should feel safe at university, so that they can reach their academic potential and fully immerse themselves in campus life.’
‘Today, we are sending a clear message that sexual violence and harassment is simply not acceptable. It’s sometimes hard to talk about inappropriate behaviour and that’s why we’re bringing it out in the open.’
‘We also want to make clear to all our students that help and support is available’.
‘Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this pledge and who continues to support this important work’.
Evelyn Welch discussed the joint commitment’s role in bringing these issues out in the open with Bristol SU, stating that the end goal was to eradicate sexual violence and harassment across all of our campuses.
She also highlighted the University of Bristol’s Sexual Liaison Officers, who students can go to at any time to discuss their experiences and get guidance.
Featured Image: University of Bristol
Do you think UoB is doing enough to confront these issues?