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UEA and UEA Students’ Union shortlisted for top community relations award

The University of East Anglia (UEA) and the UEA Students’ Union have been shortlisted for a prestigious Chartered Institute of Public Relations award for a campaign around harassment.

The University and the Students’ Union last year launched a joint “Never OK” campaign to set clear expectations around zero tolerance for sexual harassment, sexual violence and any form of racism or other discrimination.

Now the campaign has been shortlisted in the category of Best Community Relations campaign in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide 2018 awards. The final is being held in Cambridge on 15 November.

The successful shortlisting in the CIPR awards follows on from last month’s success with an international award for UEA’s alumni and communications team for Best Use of Social Media for the UEA Gig History project in the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards.

UEA’s Never OK campaign was launched in response to a Universities UK (UUK) Changing the Culture report, which set out the need to challenge behaviours that underpin sexual harassment, violence or hate crimes.

The UUK taskforce, of which UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson was a member, set out recommendations for all universities around establishing a zero tolerance culture and offering training, support and advice to students and staff.

The Never OK campaign at UEA is designed to:

- Foster a culture where there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment, violence or hate crime against anyone

- Enable frank, open and honest discussions about these issues and provide clear signposting to training and support for all

- Support and encourage our wider communities beyond the campus to challenge behaviours and change cultures

Students were given Never OK business cards that set out expectations around mutual respect, not tolerating any form of sexual harassment, violence or hate crime, and gives contact points for help, advice or support.

Temporary graffiti carrying key national statistics from the UUK Changing the Culture report were also sprayed on pavements around campus to help raise awareness and help provoke debate as part of the joint UEA and UEA SU campaign.

Students at UEA have also been encouraged to undertake online ‘Consent Matters’ training to deepen their understanding of key issues. A bystander intervention programme has been developed to help students and staff best respond to instances of abuse, and referral links have been strengthened with specialist partners such as Leeway, the Harbour Centre, and Norfolk Police.