The 1752 Group Profile picture
Feb 28 12 tweets 7 min read
The UUK 'strategic guide' on staff-student sexual misconduct is published today, during #UCU strike action which we are participating in.

We sat on the advisory group for developing this guidance. Here is our public statement. TL;DR we are disappointed.…
This guidance from Universities UK has been a long time coming. While there is some helpful and important material in the forthcoming practical guide, overall this guidance represents a missed opportunity.
It prioritises retaining the status quo over asking universities to make real change, and it is contradictory, by recommending clear professional boundaries while still allowing sexual relationships between staff and students.
Furthermore, with the guidance being published at a time when 63 universities across the UK are on #UCUstrike due to poor working conditions – conditions that also affect students – we have to question UUK’s commitment to this work.
UUK represents universities who, among other disputes, are refusing to take collective action on the gender pay gap, at the same time as this guidance states that staff sexual misconduct ‘is part of the wider culture of gender inequality’.
This inconsistency, along with the relatively weak recommendations, suggest that the guidance is intended to shore up UUK’s reputation rather than to truly make a difference for students.
Finally, we are surprised to read in the strategic guide that UUK plan to engage with The 1752 Group in ongoing work to make this guidance a ‘living document’. This statement was made without consultation with us, and we have not agreed to continue to work with UUK.
We have put weeks of our time – unpaid – into developing this guidance, on top of demanding roles within our institutions, because we wanted survivors to be represented in the discussions. Despite our best efforts, the guidance falls short of what we had hoped for.
In future our free labour will instead be put towards supporting survivor and activist groups.
Overall, we are deeply disappointed that UUK, which represents a multi-billion pound industry, has chosen to do this work on the cheap while failing to address the conditions that enable sexual misconduct to occur.
We will make a more detailed statement on Thursday when the #UCUstrikes action is finished. We have refused an invitation to speak about this guidance at the Universities UK conference on Thursday as we do not want to support UUK or endorse this guidance.

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More from @1752Group

Sep 28, 2019
This story of an academic assaulting a series of young male students at two institutions over many years highlights some of the problems that we have seen more widely across the sector.

Kevin O'Gorman: Former university professor sentenced for sex attacks…
He was given an NDA when he left Strathclyde uni in 2011, a large payoff, and a reference that allowed him to get another job at Heriott Watt, as The Times' excellent reporting from @mikewadejourno stated. (Paywall)…
This raises very serious concerns as to how references can be used to cover up abusive behaviour. The higher education sector needs to consider how referencing protocols could be standardised in UK higher education, as they are in other parts of the public sector.
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