In a bid to tackle harassment and hate crime on campus, the Higher Education Funding Council for England have announced funding will be awarded to The University of Manchester and The University of Manchester Students’ Union.
The grant, which totals over £100,000, has been donated to fund a campaign to encourage students and staff to report incidents of abuse around the university.
This follows after a report published by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force in 2016 found more could be done on English university campuses to tackle issues of harassment, hate crime, and violence against women, and specified that universities “should develop a clear and accessible response procedure and central reporting system for dealing with incidents.”
The Speak Up and Stand Up campaign forms part of the HEFCE Catalyst Fund that has already provided £760,000 earlier this year to develop a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Student Ambassador Programme’, aiming to advance both the well-being of Manchester students and racial and social equality.
Commenting on the news, Patrick Johnson, Head of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at The University of Manchester stated: “Sadly, these problematic behaviours continue to exist on campuses and in society. We all have the right to live in an environment, free from the fear of harassment or abusive behaviour, and here at Manchester, we take that right very seriously.
“With an emphasis on empowering students as future leaders of our society, this campaign aims to increase knowledge and confidence to recognise, report and safely confront these issues.”
The campaign will also have a focus beyond the campus, in the belief that incidents are not just confined to university. The funding will target secondary schools and colleges to establish similar campaigns to promote awareness of hate crimes at all levels of education.
Riddi Viswanathan, Diversity Officer at The University of Manchester Students’ Union, welcomed the news, commenting: “At the Students Union we have a zero tolerance policy on hate crime and harassment and as an official reporting centre we encourage people to come forward. However, it is sad to see that many hate crimes still go unreported.
“I welcome this collaborative project with the University and see it as an opportunity to reach out to more people, on and off campus, encouraging them to speak up and stand up to hate crime and harassment. I am certain that we can build on the successful We Get it campaign and encourage people to step up and stand up and be the change.”