Today SUSU have introduced a new online tool where students are able to report incidents of harassment.
It was created due to a rise in reported issues of harassment on campus.
VP Welfare, Sam Higman and VP Communities, Arun Aggarwal, worked closely with the student society, Stand Up To Racism to create this new system with an ambition to better the Union’s method of reporting harassment and to gather data.
Wessex Scene talked with Arun about the new online tool:
In the last year, issues around harassment have come to light and become more public. After talking to students, it was apparent that they felt that the Union and University’s response was inadequate, so we linked up with the Stand Up to Racism Society to create a data capture tool to allow us to deal with harassment quickly, but also collate data in the long term. Hopefully this show everyone that we’re serious about tackling harassment on all of our campuses and want to make students feel welcome and safe.
The Harassment report form can be found on the SUSU website.
The form is completely confidential, however the Union will get in touch to offer support and advice.
Alternatively, students can choose to report anonymously, however under these circumstances no further help and advice can be offered to the individual without knowing their identity.
Both student and staff can utilise this form to make the Union aware of any incidents of harassment they have experienced or been witness to. These may include incidents surrounding:
- Religious belief
- Sexual assault
- Sexual orientation
- Other harassment
SUSU have emphasised that any kind of harassment can be reported to them, included those not listed above.
Wessex Scene talked to Stand Up To Racism, Secretary, Elena Christodoulou, about creating this online form and asked her what it will mean for students:
It means that we don’t have to rely on the university to deal with matters and have a fear that we cant speak out incase it endangers our position at the university.
It also means that there’s a way to finally report what’s going on without it being such a formal, arduous process where nothing gets done. For example, we still don’t know what happened with that computer science class and the racial abuse that was posted there.
Elena further explained what they hope to achieve with the new system:
The union can now collate this information and understand exactly where harassment takes place, and up the security. Also they can notice trends in any form of abuse which can be used to create more beneficial education on the matter. We are hoping as a society that this will be one legacy we can leave at the university.