UEA and students’ union launch zero tolerance campaign

The University of East Anglia and UEA Students’ Union are working together to promote a zero tolerance campaign around sexual violence, harassment and hate crimes.

Earlier this year a Universities UK taskforce published a report, Changing the Culture, which set out the need to challenge behaviours that underpin sexual harassment, violence or hate crimes. Arising from the UUK taskforce report, the new campaign at UEA builds and expands on the award-winning work of the UEA SU’s Never OK campaign. 

The UUK taskforce, of which UEA vice-chancellor Prof David Richardson was a member, sets 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:

  • To foster a culture where there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment, violence or hate crime against anyone
  • To enable frank, open and honest discussions about these issues and provide clear signposting to training and support for all
  • To support and encourage our wider communities beyond the campus to challenge behaviours and change cultures 

From the start of the new academic year, students are being 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 have also been 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 will also be encouraged to undertake online ‘Consent Matters’ training on Blackboard to deepen their understanding of key issues.  A bystander intervention programme is being developed to help students and staff best respond to instances of abuse, and referral links are being strengthened with specialist partners such as Leeway, the Harbour Centre, and Norfolk Police.

Vice-chancellor Prof David Richardson said: “I was proud to represent the university and UEA students on the UUK taskforce and I know these issues are vital to help ensure that our campus is as safe as it can be for everyone. At UEA we’re very clear that any form of sexual harassment, violence or hate crime is never ok. Norwich is a great and safe city but there is more we can do to work with community partners to help ensure living and studying in the city is as safe as it can be.”

India Edwards, UEA Students’ Union welfare, community and diversity officer said: “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. 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.”

Universities UK Changing the Culture report http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2016/changing-the-culture.pdf.