Your education, university experience, and your right to a voice are affected when you do not feel safe in your environment. As VP Education and Democracy it will be my duty to ensure that your education and prerogative is held in the highest regard and is a top priority. Due to this, I will work on these issues, and any other issues that are brought to my attention that affect your education experience, engagement, and comfort at the university.
What will you do to tackle the stigma of sexual health and consent?
My primary aim is to introduce an accessible resource hub that houses materials on a variety of student-oriented issues, with a focus on sexual health and consent. This will hopefully be implemented in conjunction with societies, such as the LGBTQ+, Neurodiversity & Disability, CoppaFeel!, First Aid and Student Minds, along with individual students themselves. In this, we are aspiring to give students a basic level of understanding on issues surrounding sexual health and consent and I believe that it would be beneficial to deliver a yearly presentation and send out an informative email at the start of every year. This presentation will be as inclusive as possible and will look at LGBTQ+ issues, sexual health, consent and harassment, as well as other vital attributes of sexual health.
Furthermore, I would like to see sexual health and consent promoted on the SUSU website and social media so that the stigma surrounding it is lessened to the best of my ability. This is something that I am actively working on and I am currently gathering information and resources from different societies to create a support ‘guide’ on sexual health, consent awareness, gender, and any other relevant topic supporting students with their general and sexual health. It is critical to me that there is a safe place for all students to learn about different topics regarding sex, especially their general and sexual health. This should be accessible without worry or judgement and will be included during welcome week from day one.
Is there anything you will do to reinforce consent measures particularly for sports societies?
At the beginning of each year I will ask all societies (particularly sports societies due to the ongoing issues in this area), to brief their members on rules and consent measures. Along with the presentation during welcome week, we will introduce an email and/or leaflet that will be sent around en masse to everyone.
In conjunction with this, I will implement a set of concrete sanctions that relate to consent measures and sexual harassment/abuse. In addition, I will work with the VP Welfare and Community to ensure proper investigations are undertaken on a case-by-case basis. A zero-tolerance policy will also be implemented in collaboration with the Sabbatical Officers, importantly the VP Sports, to reinforce that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and will be condemned.
Many people feel the university does not take these issues seriously and investigate them thoroughly unless required to by law. Is there anything you would do about this?
Working with the VP Welfare and Community and Southampton Consent Awareness and Sexual Health Education Society, I aim to constantly improve the university’s strategies and guidelines in relation to investigating cases of sexual abuse, harassment and consent. I will do everything in my power to ensure that these issues are taken seriously and a thorough investigation is instigated and kept inline with the zero-tolerance policy.