An important message from our Vice-Chancellor
A message to our students from Professor Nick Jennings, published February 2024.
Please note this contains content relating to sexual assault, rape and violence.
Students and Colleagues,
Harassment and sexual harm impact the daily lives of members of our Loughborough University community. National research and local data suggest that women and members of our LGBTQ+ community are subjected to harmful behaviour more regularly (1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 LGBTQ+), with men responsible for 91% of this harmful behaviour (Rape crisis, 2024; Galop, 2023).
To create an environment that is both vibrant and inclusive, this message is particularly aimed at our male staff and students. You may find some of this content difficult, but I’d ask that you take the time to read it. This is an important message which relates to the values and culture that we must foster at Loughborough.
I want to be clear with all our male staff and students – the responsibility for ending violence is ours. Too often we see the emphasis or blame passed onto those subjected to harm, as if it were their responsibility to protect themselves and hide themselves away.
While there are many male members of our community who act as positive allies, each year we see several incidences of male violence. We investigate these, we support our students through the trauma, and we take disciplinary action where appropriate. Each academic year we terminate the studies of a number of male students for sexual misconduct. We will continue to tackle these incidents, but we need to do more to stop male violence against our community members.
We may only see a small proportion of incidents reported, and by the time an incident has occurred the trauma has already taken place, and this can have a lasting and significant impact on those subjected to harm.
There are practical things you can do now to help our community feel safer:
- When you see inappropriate behaviour from others, challenge it – call out your peers and friends when they are being misogynistic or degrading;
- Use STOP:
Provide a diversion
- Recognise your power and privilege;
- Keep your distance - don’t walk behind women in the dark; cross the road and give them some space;
- Be an example to others, model behaviour that is respectful and inclusive;
- If you’re concerned that someone may be engaging in culturally harmful behaviour, speak to venue staff if you are in a club, contact our campus Security or Warden team, and offer support until someone else is there to help.
- Learn more by engaging in content through Consent Collective TV, and campaigns such as 'You're Right, That's Wrong' and Enough.
To seek support from the University should you be subjected to harm or have witnessed it, staff and students can report online, with the option to remain anonymous.
Professor Nick Jennings
Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University