Friday, 9 November 2012

Universities Respond: Part Seven

St George's University of London:

Thanks alot for your email, it made for a very interesting read. I think that so far our students activities have managed to avoid the nature of events described in your letter but I will be sure to be consider this view when planning in future.

Well...a result of sorts, but...


The actual fuck?

Look, I don't care if you're studying English Literature or 'Sports Science', if you get to University level you should know that there's no such word as 'alot'. Jesus wept. No, wait, Jesus not only wept, he wept so much he drowned all of the illiterate people in his holy salty tears. If only. 'king hell.

The Alot

University of Wolverhampton:

Thank you for your email expressing your concerns. I am the President of the University of Wolverhampton Students’ Union and wanted to reply to you personally.

I also read the Independent article and raised my own concerns regarding the titles of club nights. As a non-commercial Union we do not hold club nights on any of our premises, and as such make commercial links with local clubs/bars who we believe offer the safest drinking/clubbing nights in the locality. Following on from the article, I have expressed alongside the executive that we need to ensure that we are more attentive to the titles of club nights run externally when signing commercial contracts.

As a non-commercial Union our emphasis is primarily on the welfare of our Students, and ensuring that their time at this university is fulfilling. In regards to any sexual health campaigns, we ensure that these are run throughout the year and not focussed on fresher’s week. We run many campaigns during the year which focus on the health and wellbeing of our students. My Welfare Vice President (Iwuese Nyager) is committed to continuing the promotion of sexual health amongst other health campaigns.

The concerns you raised are valid and I would like to thank you for contacting this Union requesting a response.

I hope my email answers a number of your queries.

University of the Highlands and Islands:

Firstly, what an awesome name for a University. It rhymes! I'd go there just on that basis.

Thank you for your letter dated 15th October 2012 which has been passed to me to offer an institutional response from the University of the Highlands and Islands.

I note the contents of your letter and the concerns you raise about the reported activities of students during student ‘Freshers Weeks’. I also note that your accompanying email states that you offer your "sincere apologies if you feel the nature of Freshers' Week events described therein do not apply to student events arranged at the University of the Highlands and Islands."

That, indeed, is the case: I have no evidence whatsoever that there have been any such activities during induction at any of the UHI Academic Partners. If you have any evidence to the contrary, then I would be extremely keen to learn more from you.

UHI is a distributed university covering half the land mass of Scotland, with 13 Academic Partner colleges and specialised research institutions. Many of our students live in some of the most remote areas of the country. Most of our students are aged over 25 years and most study on a part-time basis. Most of our students are female. We are unlike traditional universities in many ways, one of these being the traditional idea of a ‘Freshers Week’ covering all students in one location. We are passionately committed to offering equality of opportunity and a positive learning experience for every single one of our students.

I appreciate you taking the time to outline your concerns and I completely agree with your point about the importance of respect and equality for both sexes. I am glad to say, however, that the problems you have described do not have resonance within the University of the Highlands and Islands.

University of Southampton:

Thank you for contacting us here at SUSU and the University of Southampton; I apologise for the delay in responding to you, unfortunately it has been a very busy week for us!

I completely understand your concerns and I’m very pleased that you’re approaching student unions about this issue. I’d like to put your mind at ease and tell you that at SUSU, events like this are not arranged by us nor are they encouraged on our premises. Through my job as Vice President Welfare and Communities, I spoke out about events like this and was quoted on the BBC website. Our Events team always check event ideas with the sabbatical officers before promoting them and we have policy that states we must not discriminate or ostracise any student groups, which I believe protects female students from this type of event.

Were there any specific events that you saw happening from SUSU that made you feel uncomfortable? Are you a student here?


University of the West of Scotland:

Many thanks for your email where you outlined your concern about the excessive drinking and alleged sexist activities organized throughout our Freshers’ lineup.

No. Not yours specifically. Nobody understands what a standard letter is anymore. Jesus is all cried out so I'll cry in his place. WAH.

SAUWS operates under a strict safe policy whereby all our events have to be open and a safe place for people to come to regardless of their background. Therefore, all our events are audited to make sure that they don’t offend any one of our students. In addition, SAUWS actively promotes to our customers that they should be drinking sensibly and throughout the year we will advise students of how much they drink and what effects it could have on you. Furthermore, this year SAUWS is working towards achieving a ‘Best Bar None’ award which celebrates those pubs which do promote safe drinking amongst their customer base.

We do promote safe sex amongst students and this includes being distributing condoms to students. This is supported by various other organizations as well as the University. In addition, I can safely say that our Students’ Association would never organize a night out which has such a direct message as ‘Pop your Cherry’; this would be an example of where we take thought of how a themed night out could offend a section of our diverse student population. In addition, our Women’s Group would take issue if we were to organize such a grotesque event. Throughout the year, we do regularly campaign on women’s rights, including raising awareness of rape and the disappointing attitudes towards it.

Our Freshers’ line up does not entirely revolve around alcohol consumption as we don’t organize sporting activities; as well as forms of entertainment such as environmental education events.

I hope that the above response will prove comfort to you and if there is any other information that you require then please get in touch.