Cardiff University Students’ Union (CUSU) has been selected to trial a NUS anti-lad culture pilot scheme, after statistics have revealed that a quarter of all university students have experienced ‘unwanted sexual advances’.
CUSU was selected as one of nine universities across the UK to trial the new scheme, and will be encouraged to introduce a number of its own unique strategies. At the end of the trial period, the union will then share its experience with the NUS.
According to SU President Claire Blakeway, the pilot scheme is aimed to support those who have experienced sexual harassment and violence and to enable victims to report the incident. This will be done by creating multiple ways to talk about students’ concerns, including by telephone, email and by face to face meetings.
The Union will also update its website and create alternative platforms in order to publicise the support services that it provides. The scheme will help to increase awareness of harassment and assault and warn students of the consequences for perpetrators.
Currently, the only way to report an incident is via email to the union’s zero tolerance email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. When asked about its policy regarding response times in March, Gair Rhydd failed to receive a reply.
Introduced in 2012, the existing anti-lad policy within the Union has received mixed reactions. Talking to Gair Rhydd, the SU President praised its work in preventing controversial comedian Dapper Laughs from performing last year, whilst later acknowledging that “more needs to be done”.
Indeed, in February information gathered under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that in spite of attempts to introduce increased awareness of sexual harassment, only three cases were reported to the university within the last three years.
Such statistics provide a sharp contrast to figures released by the NUS’ Hidden Mark reports, which found that almost 70% of female students have been subject to verbal or physical sexual harassment.
The NUS report also revealed that 14% of students had experienced such harassment on a ‘serious’ level.
In response to the news, Cardiff University Students’ Union’s Women’s Officer Rachael Mehuish said: “Universities and unions need to do more to ensure all of their students are living and studying in a safe environment, and take responsibility for when this is not the case.”
Cardiff Students’ Union will introduce the NUS anti-lad pilot scheme alongside other union’s in Oxford University, Kings College London, London School of Economics, University of Warwick, Leeds University, Queen Mary’s University London, University of Sussex and the University of Bradford.