Compulsory attendance of Student Organisation committee members to consent workshops

Date embedded: November 2019

Liberation - inclusion - accessibility

Date embedded: November 2019

Status: Complete

TRIGGER WARNING

We have been asked to point out that the following motion relates to issues related to sexual assault/consent

Proposed by: Ella Harvey (Welfare Representative ME)
Seconded by: Sama Deen (Woman’s Officer ME), Deanna Lyn Cook (President of Netball club ME), Lucy Madeley (RAG Officer), Jemima Hindmarch (President of LGBT+ society ME), Lewis Williams (QMYG Events Coordinator), Dannyl Mohammed (BME Representative ME), Katherine Toomey (Disabled and SLD Representative ME), Bruce Murphy (President of Men’s Football Club ME), Elliot Wragg (President of Hockey Club ME), Immy Ursell (Vice President Hockey Club ME), Mary Ojo (Vice President Education), Lara Dihmis and Zoe Smythe (Woman’s Football Club Co-Presidents ME), Kate Reynolds (Co-President of Labour Society ME), Effy Ferencz (President of Pro-Bono Society ME), Linnea Synchyshyn (Trans Representative), Yasir Yeahia (SU President)

 

What do you want?

Sexual harassment is rife on campuses at union events. The NUS has already addressed this at a national scale with their “I Heart Consent” campaign. In this vein, we want to ensure that two committee members of each student group undertake consent workshops, specifically tailored in order for committee members to understand what their role is in tackling these allegations. Although there will be consent workshops introduced to first years in the 2018/19 academic year, these workshops will differ slightly. The students will mainly be informed of what services are available to students, so that they are able to signpost society members if they require these services. These workshops will also have an emphasis on ensuring that committee members do not take on a counselling role. The consent workshops will be included in student group training, which is compulsory for affiliation as stated in the Bye-Laws.

 

Why do you want it?
  • Many QMSU students do not feel safe at student group and union events and therefore feel excluded from them.
  • When allegations are made, often committee members are the first to find out. In order for appropriate action to be taken, they need to know about available services in order to inform appropriately.
  • As part of a shift towards a culture of consent, it is important to demystify what consent is.
  • As sexual harassment/abuse disproportionately affects women and non-binary people, it can push them out of society events. We want to be safe spaces for all and these workshops will hopefully ensure this.
  • If left without assistance, those who have been sexually harassed could go on to develop serious mental health conditions, which could impair their academic performance. It is vital we tackle this issue head on.

 

What effect will it have?
  • It will allow everyone to be included and feel safe at all events on campus.
  • It will improve understanding of consent, thus hopefully reducing cases of sexual assault or harassment on campus.
  • It will ensure that those who are the first to be contacted are able to disclose what services are available to those affected.
  • By creating boundaries around what is and isn’t acceptable, it will ensure that the committee members are practicing self care when dealing with these difficult issues and ensuring that victims are quickly able to access help that they need.
  • It will also demonstrate that the union takes these allegations seriously and wants the best outcome for everyone involved.
 

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