“More than half of UK students say they have faced unwanted sexual behaviour”
(Ack: The Guardian 26/2/19, link to article to follow)
The team at Intersol Global have been working with UK Universities for a little over 2 years now so it’s not unusual to follow this reporting with interest and be much better placed to pass comment from a much more informed perspective.
We thought long and hard before including the featured image at the head of this article (acknowledgements to Roehampton Uni) but encountering the term “F*C* A FRESHER WEEK” here in the UK recently during an investigation satisfied the author of its appropriateness. Similarly an informal social conversation with a first year student who casually advised that her common experience in Manchester nightclubs was running a gauntlet of breast and bottom ‘squeezing’, behaviour that was normalised apparently.
Similarly the experience of students vulnerable, by way of power imbalance and quest for results, to the ‘unwanted overtures’ of university hierarchy all too frequently buried behind the cloak of NDA’s, confidentiality agreements, and pay offs, no different to the experience within sport, religion, or public sector.
No longer can this be acceptable. To ‘bury’ this conduct and ‘move the offender on’ to another institute simply creates more victims. Instances must not be tolerated and should be robustly investigated by external experts, not entrusted to compromised internal managers with NO expertise of investigation.
The university context is complex, consisting of serious misconduct student v student, staff v staff, staff v student, and student v staff, all overlaid by 140 different discipline regulations, Statute 18, staff misconduct regs, let alone professional bodies with safeguarding responsibilities – the investigation and case management is often simple, it’s the context that’s complex and it’s taken us 2 years to be anywhere nearing mastering that complexity!
At Intersol Global we are delighted to be supporting an increasing number of institutes with their serious misconduct investigations and our early experience is that as an external resource most investigations can be completed in days (not weeks, months, years). Consider the impact on not only the ‘reporting’ person but equally importantly on the ‘reported’ person of an investigation lasting years before an outcome, in one case the reported person only received case papers the night before a discipline hearing over a year after the initial complaint.
One evidenced case study of Return on Investment (ROI) supports a view that for every £1 invested at the ‘front end’ of investigation £50 would have been saved at the ‘back end’, those figures NOT including reputation and brand damage.
Many institutions have laudably employed ex-police as their specialist investigators on the (occasional false) assumption of competency. Others will persist in ‘in-house’ investigation and case management putting undue pressure on already distressed and overworked middle-managers.
We offer an alternative and can support you to support your staff and students for less than £1pp per year. If you’d like to know how please contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to The Guardian article here.