Universities regulator to get tough on failures to address harassment and sexual misconduct?
The regulator for Universities, the Office for Students (OfS) has put forward the possibility of requiring a university to address harassment and sexual misconduct as a condition of its registration (). This would mean they could lose their status and public funding if they fail to improve how they tackle these issues. The measures set out in the consultation are intended to encourage universities to better protect and support students who experience harassment and sexual misconduct. Universities would have until the summer to demonstrate that they have adequate and effective policies and processes in place, including clear procedures to report incidents, fair, independent and unbiased investigations, and appropriate support for victims.
That firmer action is required comes from recent research by Exeter University and others. This found that there is already sufficient evidence to show that Universities are failing to address harassment and sexual misconduct. Around half of university staff responsible for tackling harassment and sexual misconduct who were surveyed indicated that their university has only just begun to address these issues.