1,000 signatures reached
To: University of Essex
Sexual harassment: a demand for urgent change at Essex
Make urgent and fundamental changes to the way that complaints of sexual harassment are dealt with at the University of Essex
Why is this important?
The recent BBC investigation into sexual harassment has put Essex has highlighted a system that is seriously failing students.
It is totally unacceptable that complaints of sexual harassment can take several months to be investigated, leaving students that have been directly affected to suffer enormously.
The toll this has taken on the students affected cannot be overestimated and cannot be undone.
We owe it to every student that has ever been affected by sexual harassment to take this moment seriously.
So on behalf of our 16,000 Students’ Union members, today we’re demanding that the University of Essex introduces the following urgent and fundamental changes:
1. INTRODUCE PROPER SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS THROUGHOUT THE 'REPORT AND SUPPORT' PROCESS
Students must no longer be left unsupported or uninformed at any part of the process
2. URGENTLY UNDERTAKE A DETAILED REVIEW OF THE EXPERIENCE OF STUDENTS AFFECTED BY SEXUAL HARASSMENT
As a Students’ Union we called for this action to be taken in May this year – now demand that this must be acted upon urgently
3. ALL INVESTIGATIONS INTO SEXUAL HARASSMENT MUST BE COMPLETED WITHIN 60 DAYS
Currently only 80% of complaints are resolved within the timescale recommended by the Independent Adjudicator – this needs to be 100%
4. INTRODUCE TRANSPARENT REPORTING OF ACTION TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO REPORTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
The University must report regularly to students on the number of cases, the length of time these have taken and summaries of actions taken
5. INTRODUCE COMPULSORY CONSENT AND BYSTANDER TRAINING FOR ALL UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX STUDENTS
Online training modules are not enough. These sessions have to be in person and must happen in the first week of the new academic year
6. INTRODUCE COMPULSORY SEXUAL HARASSMENT RESPONSE TRAINING FOR ALL FRONTLINE STAFF AND PERSONAL TUTORS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX
Before the start of the new academic year, all members of staff in student-facing positions must be properly trained on how to respond to reports of sexual harassment and provide support to students in these circumstances
7. ALL OF THE SERVICES THAT OFFER REPORTING OR SUPPORT RELATING TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT MUST BE PROPERLY COMMUNICATED TO STUDENTS
From the start of the new academic year, support services such as Student Support or SU Advice can no longer be hidden away or not clearly visible to students that need to access them
8. ESTABLISH A SINGLE PROCESS BETWEEN THE UNIVERSITY AND THE STUDENTS' UNION FOR MANAGING INCIDENTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Immediate changes are needed as the current two-tier system is disjointed and confused and leaves students lost and unsupported
9. PRIORITISE CASES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT OVER MINOR CONDUCT OR ACADEMIC ISSUES
The University owes it to those affected to prioritise cases of sexual harassment over minor conduct or academic issues
10. RECOGNISE THAT THE UNI IS GROWING QUICKLY AND SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS NEEDS TO GROW WITH IT
Additional support cannot afford to be a short-term fix: it must continue to grow in order to keep pace with Essex’s growing student population
It is critical that all of the above actions must be applied equally to all three University of Essex campuses in Colchester, Southend and Loughton – this is an issue that affects all students equally and no campus should be unfairly prioritised.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
We believe strongly that we have to act now to address the issue of sexual harassment at Essex and we’re committed to working on all of the above actions.
You can show your support and help us demonstrate how many of our members care about this issue by signing our petition calling for urgent action to be taken.