The University of Birmingham and its student union, the Guild of Students, are today, Monday 26 January, launching a joint initiative to tackle sexual harassment and uphold the right of staff and students to live and study in a safe and supportive environment.
The ‘Not On’ campaign follows growing concern about the prevalence of ‘Lad Culture’ and a rise in reported cases of sexual harassment at universities across the country.
Under the initiative, staff and students will be encouraged to challenge sexual harassment and report inappropriate behaviour. Staff and students will be able to show their support for the campaign by signing the ‘Not On’ pledge.
In a joint statement, the University of Birmingham and the Guild of Students said: “Sexual harassment constitutes behaviour that is unwanted and sexual in nature. Conduct that would amount to sexual harassment may include unwanted groping, uninvited kisses and/or bodily contact. However, sexual harassment is not only physical behaviour but includes anything that is sexual in nature and leaves another person feeling uncomfortable, intimidated, humiliated or offended, such as wolf whistling, catcalling, inappropriate sexual comments, sexually based insults, jokes, songs or taunts.
“The University and the Guild of Students regard any incident of harassment or bullying as a serious matter and we are committed to investigating thoroughly any allegations of harassment that are formally brought to our attention. You should never be subjected to harassment, whether this occurs in a bar, on campus, on public transport or online, and be it by people you know or complete strangers.
“The Guild of Students operates a strict zero tolerance policy in regards to harassment, fully supported by the University. The University Charter and Single Equality Scheme represent a commitment to preventing discrimination and supporting the provision of an inclusive learning and working environment.”
The campaign aims to create an environment where sexual harassment of any kind is deemed wholly inappropriate and unacceptable, and where victims have the confidence to speak out.
The University already provides a Harassment Advice Service that offers support for staff and students who have experienced incidents of bullying or harassment. The Guild of Students’ Advice and Representation Centre (ARC) provides free and impartial advice, information and representation to students.
The campaign is being launched with a video featuring Great Britain’s Paralympic gold medallist Pam Relph MBE, a University of Birmingham alumna, and a number of current students and senior members of University staff.
For all media enquiries please contact Faye Jackson in the University of Birmingham press office on +44 (0)121 414 6029. For out of hours enquires please contact the duty press officer on +44 (0)7789921165.
To read the University of Birmingham and Guild of Students’ statement in full please visit the website.
For further information about the Not On initiative please visit the Guild of Students website.