My time running the Student’s Union at my previous workplace allowed my team to develop and deliver a comprehensive presentation that discussed sexual health, consent, gender, and sexual orientation, to over 1000 students during their course of study. I would love the opportunity to continue this, especially in ‘Welcome Week’, alongside ensuring that there are resources and support readily available to students all throughout the year. Moreover, I aim to facilitate the provision of contact information and a safe space that students can access to receive additional support. I am more than happy to develop and create further resources and to dedicate an entire day to the discussion of sexual health, consent awareness, sexual harassment and sexual assault. This would take place yearly during Welcome Week. In this, we would invite specialists to discuss the importance of consent awareness and sexual harassment and assault as a whole. This would be discussed alongside statistics on the matter, the support available, and what constitutes it.
If elected, I will encourage a case-by-case analysis to ensure proper investigations take place. In conjunction with this, I would also like to implement a zero-tolerance policy, in collaboration with all of the Sabbatical Officers, to further indicate that this type of behaviour is unacceptable. Despite this, I do want to add that I would still like accessible support and information that can be made available to all students, and their concerns and worries are not based on the outcome of an investigation.
Within the support materials, I want to include internal and external methods of support, ramifications for false accusations, and a complete description of what sexual assault and harassment constitutes as to ensure that all students are aware and can report accurately. I also hope that this will encourage students to share their concerns and worries, whether about themselves or a friend, in a safe environment created by the university and the Student’s Union. I would love to make sure we have specialists in this area that can support students and offer one-to-one and group sessions to further aid the student body.
I am unsure of the extent of the influence I will hold if I am elected as VP Education and Democracy, but I would like to reinforce that I am very aware of how important it is to raise awareness of sexual assault and harassnent, and that I will do everything in my power to tackle this ever growing problem in halls.
Establishing a safe space in a dedicated area for all students (both those that have experienced sexual assault on campus, and those that has it experienced it off campus) is critical. I aim to work with the VP Welfare and Community to create further access to counselling and support, as well as to increase our current counsellors knowledge on sexual assault and harassment to allow for a specific and tailored response. This safe space will also promote awareness of external support services and, provide and develop accessible resources to support all students in matters of sexual assault and harassment. An open-door policy is encouraged here for advice, guidance and informational guides and sessions regarding pre-existing sexual health issues. This centre will have a place on SUSU’s main website where students can access these resources, support, contact information and more at any time from any place.
I pledge that I will push for more seminars, more discussions, dedicated sessions, better support and resources, and better safe and trusting spaces for victims of sexual harassment and assault.