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Provost Commission Forum Extraordinary session on Gender safety April 2021

Following a session where staff, students and members of our wider community met to discuss Gender Safety and the actions we can take to ensure every student is, and feels, safe on our campuses the following areas were identified as initial priorities:

  • Janice Kay, Provost and Mike Shore-Nye, Registrar and Secretary, will be jointly leading a dedicated group focussing on gender safety to oversee actions in this area. Terms of Reference and membership are currently being finalised, with the group due to hold its first meeting very soon.  This Group will review the University’s progress against national frameworks (i.e. UUK Taskforce on Violence against Women) and will consider both the student and staff aspects of gender safety work.  There are eight specific themes that will form the basis of the Group’s work:
    • 1. Values and expectations of being a member of this university
    • 2. Understanding and acting on consent and respect
    • 3. Bystander intervention in all its forms
    • 4. Physical safety in all places where we should be safe
    • 5. Roles and expectations of student societies
    • 6. Reporting processes, feeling safe to report, and support
    • 7. Zero tolerance, disciplinary action and sanctions
    • 8. Communication and messaging.
  •  A comprehensive ‘Transitions’ induction task and finish group have been stood up which will, amongst others focusses, oversee a comprehensive EDI focussed course for new and returning students, which will consent training.   Alongside this, a modular approach to Bystander training will be explored and piloted, linking completion to extra University awards (e.g Exeter award.)  We will also be ensuring that any training that is delivered permeates beyond fresher’s, and is suitable for our diverse community across all years of study.
  •  The visibility of a lot of physical safety based actions was discussed, and the group confirmed it was important that the University communicated more clearly actions that were being undertaken to ensure student safety and support – for example, the night bus, partnership with Apple Taxis, female members of estate patrol on every team and lighting on campus.  It was agreed that comms on this would be prepared as a priority and these are currently in draft.
  • A potential personal alarm trial, where alarms are given to any students who request them with feedback sought from students in order to determine if we should roll out fully in the new academic year will be put in place. An initial pilot proposal has been drafted and is being discussed this week.
  • A pilot of ‘Nightsafe’ is being investigated, in conjunction with other student initiatives such as Urban Angels and Stroll Mates.  A meeting is in place between Linda Peka and the involved students.
  • Increased engagement with local community organisations (including nightclubs) is in the plan, with wider community engagement actions in development, and a particular focus on a community-wide event focussed on gender violence delivered with partner organisations and featuring diverse speakers.