Nov 21 2021
This month (November), as a College we are joining White Ribbon UK, a national charity working to end male violence against women through changing culture.

White Ribbon UK works to prevent all forms of male violence against women, including domestic abuse, harassment, and assault. It does this by raising awareness and through proactive engagement with men and boys.

Accreditation requires a commitment by the College to deliver awareness and engagement via communications, policies, student and staff training, and to develop the overall culture. Over 100 organisations are accredited, including Surrey Police and Surrey County Council. Individual men can also take part by wearing a White Ribbon and making a promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.

White Ribbon Day 2021 is Thursday 25 November, and I will be wearing a white ribbon as part of my personal commitment to saying ‘no’ to violence against women. As a man in a position of influence and as a representative of a university whose history is so closely associated with the advancement of women, I feel strongly that I have a role to play in championing this cause. In doing so, I also seek to reinforce the College’s commitment to taking action against all forms of harassment, hate crime and sexual violence because I believe that everyone has the right to live, work and study in an environment free from the fear of harassment or violence. White Ribbons will be available across campus for students and staff who wish to support the campaign.

Next month (December), we will welcome two new members of the Wellbeing team. The newly created role of Harassment and Wellbeing Advisor has been developed following feedback from students and staff. The advisors will act as the main point of contact for students experiencing and reporting harassment or violence, including reports submitted through our RH Be Heard portal. As a reminder, RH Be Heard offers a named or anonymous avenue to report any misconduct that you experience or witness, including racial harassment and violence.

Be Heard is new, but already we can share that a number of reports made through it have been investigated, and students disciplined. As a result of reports made to us, by you, students have been suspended, been subject to campus restriction orders, and have been removed from studying at the College.

The Harassment and Wellbeing Advisors will also work on campaigns which will aim to support prevention work, and will work closely with the Students’ Union to develop peer-led messages around our community expectations. You can expect to hear more about their joint work and news about our White Ribbon accreditation soon.

Professor Paul Layzell