TW: This news item discusses content related to sexual harassment and assault.
On Monday, we sent students a message about social media posts in relation to allegations of sexual harassment.
In that email we didn’t make it clear that the author of the original post was not involved in any alleged incident of sexual harassment, and they did not have knowledge or information regarding a claim of sexual harassment against any student. The post had circulated more widely on social media, leading others to seek to take action against the student named and accused in the post.
By not making clear why we were concerned about the post, we know that we’ve caused upset, and we’re really sorry.
Some of you have contacted us to say that the email we sent makes you worried that we don’t take accusations like this seriously, or won’t listen if someone comes forward because of their own experience, or the experience of someone they know. We want to reassure you that is not at all the case, but we also know that we didn’t communicate as well as we could have, including by not adding a trigger warning to our message. We have been speaking to a number of people about this case over the past few days and please be assured that we are supporting everyone involved.
It’s really important that anyone and everyone feels able to report incidents of harassment or violence, whether you are the victim, or have information to report. The way to do this is through RH Be Heard. Be Heard is new, but already we can share that a number of perpetrators have been investigated and disciplined as a result of reports made to us, by you.
- One student who was reported on numerous occasions over the first week of term for harassment and an alleged assault has now left the university. This followed an investigation and they remain restricted from campus.
- Three students are temporarily suspended following an allegation of sexual assault to police and the College; the internal investigation continues alongside the police investigation.
- One allegation of sexual misconduct made against a student is at the final stages of our misconduct processes.
- One allegation of anti-social and inappropriate conduct on campus is under investigation and will be subject to restrictions whilst the investigation continues.
- One student disciplined for harassing and violent conduct last year is believed to have breached the sanctions placed at a major misconduct hearing and the College will be invoking the sanction to end their studies at the university.
Posting allegations on social media is counter-productive and, in some cases, could lead to a police and College investigation as malicious communication. Reporting through the RH Be Heard portal will ensure that you are heard and we can investigate and tackle harassment and violence. Please continue to report, we will investigate and we will support you.
If you have been affected by this, please contact our Wellbeing team at wellbeingroyalholloway.ac.uk to get support.