By Gavin Mackintosh-
Cambridge University students have been given a convenient avenue to report any cases of sexual or racial discrimination to the authorities.
Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Graham Virgo, announced the launch of a new University reporting system called “Report+Support” in an email to students attending the top tier UK university.
Virgo, an accomplished academic in law took up the task of dealing with some of the historical misconduct known to have been attempting a bit of a stain on the good name of Cambridge University.
The reporting system was created in response to calls from Tutors, student representatives, the University’s “anonymous reporting mechanism”, and several surveys, the email stated.
The mail , seen by The Eye Of Media.Com, highlights discrimination and sexual misconduct among the main conduct aimed at being eradicated from the university.“ It emphasises all ”inappropriate behaviour”.
The beginning of the email reads: ”we want the University of Cambridge to be a place where everyone can feel safe and thrive.” He adds that “abusive behaviour, discrimination, sexual misconduct and physical misconduct should have no place here”.
Cambridge University only admit very high academic achievers, making reports of sexual misconduct and racism very disturbing. The principal’s decisiveness in addressing the problems is welcomed.
University students and staff are encouraged to anonymously or formally “through a single system”, report those who behave in an inappropriate manner as well as “identifying individuals involved, where the person reporting feels comfortable to do so.”
The system also “provides access” to “relevant College and University support services as well as those from local and national external organisations.”
The system itself is accessed by a link in the email and displays the option to “report anonymously” or “report with contact details.” Beneath there are links to finding support under the headings Bullying and harassment, Abusive behaviour, Sexual misconduct and sexual harassment and Whistleblowing.
Included in the email are details about how the system will work. Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor describes that “anonymous reports” will be “tracked, monitored and shared with senior staff in the relevant department or service if we can do so and maintain the author’s anonymity.”
He adds that those reports that are made using contact details will be received by OSCCA (the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals) who will then contact the student by email to offer a meeting to “explain next steps” and answer any questions about the formal reporting procedure.
Graham Virgo also includes that if students “report behaviour about their college” then it will be “sent to the College’s Senior Tutor or another senior College member.” He states that “college procedures and practices” will also remain in “operation” and that “in some cases will be the appropriate route for resolving issues.” Finally, the email discloses that “data and anonymous case studies will be published” to evidence “the difference that reporting makes to our community.”
The email promises support for those that have made a report, disclosing that “during an investigation, the University can take action to ensure the person reporting the behaviour can continue to study and feel safe”, which may include “preventing contact with the student or staff member they have reported.”
This comes after last year Trinity Hall was accused of “systematic procedural failures of the collegiate body” in the handling of complaints against several members of the College.
At the beginning of the email, the Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor describes that “we want the University of Cambridge to be a place where everyone can feel safe and thrive.” He adds that “abusive behaviour, discrimination, sexual misconduct and physical misconduct should have no place here”, emphasising that the system is for “all forms of inappropriate behaviour – big and small.”