I thought I’d give an update on to what I’ve been looking into, what I hope to achieve over the next few months and how I’ve streamlined my many, (in the most part stupid) plans into some super-awesome action plan points.
1.) I have called a cross-liberation meeting post-holidays and invited all Liberation Officer, Liberation Associations and the VPW to attend – although all are welcome. The aim of the meeting is to collaborate and share concerns about the University and Guild and where necessary informally mandate the Officers to work together to act and fulfill the needs of these groups. However, my primary reason for calling the meeting was to discuss welfare policies and how students belonging to Liberation groups want these to be structured so that students who need access to high quality welfare provision and procedures can gain it easily. The agenda of this meeting is open and I am encouraging all attendees to consider adding items to the agenda for discussion.
2) I have been looking into the current procedures surrounding issues such as harassment, discrimination and abuse. Having spent a considerable amount of time following seemingly endless hyperlinks on the University website and trying to find my way around the maze that is the Guild website I have started to realise that the information readily accessible to students is very much one-sided.
I have been able to find plenty of information on the procedures (concerning ensuring the person guilty of harassing etc is dealt with and disciplined suitably) that one should follow at both a Union and University level. These can be found here:
- Guild: http://www.mediafire.com/?b7q2bgl4op6p7tq (I can’t find it on the Guild website, and got sent mine as a pdf, so I’ve uploaded it for all to see).
- University: http://www.as.bham.ac.uk/legislation/docs/complaintsprocedure.pdf
However, while this aspect is perfectly clear it is nigh on impossible to find clear, concise routes explaining how to access welfare providers, such as counselling and support. As it happens, the Guild website does include any mention of discrimination, harassment or abuse (for any liberation group) under the tabs devoted to these welfare services. This is despite a study by NUS called ‘Hidden Marks’ covering 2000 female students which found that 68% of respondents have been a victim of one or more kinds of sexual harassment on campus during their time as a student. Nor does the website provide any information or even suggest there is any welfare provision for those suffering from eating disorders which affects thousands of women and men across the country – including students.
Thus, using the cross-liberation meetings mentioned above, and working with the VPW I am going to try and provide an accessible set of information and advice as to what routes are available for those seeking welfare provision or support. Unbeknownst to the person who wrote the Guild website, student needs extend beyond exam preparation, stress relief and help stopping smoking.
3.) While I was doing this reading I came across the very interesting Gender Equality Scheme 2010-2013 which had some limited, but interesting facts about the staff and student make-up of our University in relation to the HE sector in general. However, this scheme pledged to produce gender data “in relation to the achievements and opportunities available to students”, most importantly IMO graduate destinations, and also relating to comosition of the staff body and development. This information was supposed to be published annually, but when trying to find it on the links provided, it was nowhere to be seen.
Therefore, I am currently trying to gain access to this information, assuming these reviews have been done acs set out by the GES Action Plan, and also to date sets published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. With these, I hope to write a report on gender equality at the University of Birmingham by the end of my time at Women’s Officer.
4) Look back to my previous posts. International Women’s Week is definitely high up on my agenda and something I’m super-psyched for. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR THIS EXCITING EVENT NEXT YEAR.
There were are. Update done.
Merry Christmas everyone xx