Safe and Welcoming Campus Environments Project

Project Aim: Ensuring that the University is a safe and welcoming environment in which all staff and students can flourish and achieve their potential.

There is currently high-level sector interest in sexual misconduct amongst students, as a UUK taskforce commissioned by the UK Government reported its findings in October 2016. The report and its accompanying legal guidance required universities to change their approach to investigating potentially criminal misconduct by students, as well as taking a proactive approach to the prevention of sexual misconduct and establishing clear reporting pathways.

Responding to this sector priority linked in with other areas of priority for the University: the Bullying & Harassment Policy, formerly the Dignity at Work and Study Policy required review and covers many of the issues raised by the UUK report. The University also identified a need to review its approach to antisocial behaviour by students in the community, and to ensure its complaints and disciplinary procedures are aligned.

Phase One of the project concluded in July 2017, and was focused on establishing a policy framework to underpin further work. You can read more about the changes to the Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline here.

Phase Two of the Safe and Welcoming Campus Environments Project is focused on responding to and preventing incidents of sexual misconduct by or against students, and will run throughout the 2017-18 academic year.

The project team are working on developing a comprehensive, multi-tiered training strategy for staff across the University, with training and guidance tailored to the degree of involvement staff are likely to have with investigating misconduct cases or supporting students. 

Students will also need guidance and training on the changes to the Policy, and the project team have already amended the Programme Terms and Conditions to draw new students’ attention to our expectations around their conduct. Messages will be included in induction talks and proactively communicated to students throughout the first semester. In addition, we have been awarded funding from HEFCE to develop and deliver training sessions on sexual consent to a wide range of student leaders in the autumn term of 2017.