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Thursday 30 November 2017

Solent and its Students’ Union have come together to support the National Union of Students as it launches its first survey of staff sexual misconduct in higher education.

Megan Maddex, Solent Students’ Union President, said: “We believe Solent is a safe and secure place to study and we work alongside the University to prevent any form of harassment.

However, we recognise there is always more to be done and here at Solent Students’ Union, we are always happy to support investigations that will ultimately enhance the student experience.

Our Sabbatical Officer team has been actively tackling the wider social issues of unwanted sexual contact and sexual violence through a number of campaigns, and supporting psychology students who are conducting research on this sort of behaviour and how it could impact students.

Any student who has experienced sexual misconduct should fill out the survey, which we hope will help drive understanding and change moving forward.”

Andrea Thompson, Solent’s Chief People Officer, added:  “We are extremely clear that harassment and inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated here at Solent; and that the wellbeing of our staff and students is paramount.

We have policies in place around behaviour at work, personal relationships at work, whistleblowing and equality in employment, which provide support and clear guidance to ensure people feel able to come forward if they need support and that we are then able to act in the best interests of those involved.

We already have a very good relationship with our Students’ Union and will be using this opportunity to work even more closely with them to ensure we are doing everything we can to support our people.”

Solent University is also involved in a range of additional safeguarding activities, including the launch of the Ask for Angela campaign across Southampton during Fresher’s Week 2017.  This safety awareness initiative, delivered in partnerships with Solent Students’ Union and Union Southampton, offers support to people across the city who may find themselves in a difficult or unwanted situation during a night out. 

Solent is also taking a lead in the implementation of the Bystander Initiative. This programme of student and staff development, recently funded by Public Health England and developed by the University of the West of England, is an evidence-based educational programme that develops and empowers students and staff to act as active bystanders and prosocial citizens in order to intervene and prevent unwanted sexual contact, sexual violence and domestic abuse in higher education settings.