The Guardian reports that sexual harassment in universities is to be investigated by the National Union of Students, which is conducting the UK’s first survey of staff sexual misconduct in higher education.
The research project is being carried out by the NUS women’s campaign. Researchers will consider professional boundaries and examine what types of behaviour students are comfortable dealing with from higher education staff.
The NUS said this was particularly important given recent findings that one-third of the UK’s universities did not have a policy on staff-student relationships. “As it currently stands, many institutions are ill-equipped to deal with instances of student-staff harassment or indeed, harassment in general,” said Hareem Ghani, the NUS women’s officer.
“For too long, these problems have been at best sidelined and at worst silenced by institutions. We need to talk about the open secrets that plague academia, to challenge cultures of entitlement and stop abuses of power wherever they happen.”
Dr Anna Bull, co-founder of The 1752 Group, said: “Universities do not currently have adequate procedures in place to protect students and deal with perpetrators, and students find themselves powerless to do anything about staff who abuse their position.”
All students and any former students who have experienced sexual misconduct from UK university staff are invited to fill out the survey.
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