April has been busy both behind the scenes, and for campaign themes. Following on from events last month, we started this month looking into the reasons that students attended and organised protests on campus. With our campaign being called ‘Reclaim The Campus’, it was interesting to look into why students felt passionately about reclaiming this space to promote their frustrations. Student protests, campaign groups and frustrations are growing and we want to continue to amplify student voices to ensure that they are being heard by universities and higher education institutions. Confronting universities with issues on their campus is no easy feat when their main incentive is to protect their reputation, so we understand the support and promotion that is necessary to those trying to do so.
This month has also been Sexual Assault Awareness month. Fittingly, we’ve been looking into the issue of the decriminalisation of rape, and considering whether this is a crime dealt with appropriately and effectively. Ultimately, research has shown that rape is extremely under-reported, and under-charged, and does not get treated with the seriousness of other crimes. We looked into rape myths, which highlight the culture and beliefs that allow this to be the case, and made suggestions for how different parties may be able to move forward from this on account of this research.
Over the month, we also worked with Not On My Campus, and many other UK student groups on the #UKCallToAction conference. We find it useful to join calls with groups doing similar work to us for motivation, support and to spark ideas and collaborative action. The idea for this conference came about when discussing the recent rise in student groups and protests. We wondered whether some of the groups are well-equipped to deal with some of the issues those of us in the coalition have faced, and discussed how valuable a more cross-collaborative effort could be in tackling the issues we are all fighting for. The conference had a range of speakers talking about topics like intersectionality, policy, and the experiences of different groups. You can read more about what was discussed over on our Twitter: @reclaimthecampus - where we live tweeted the event.
The event has left us brimming with inspiration and excitement for new opportunities to work together moving forward with the campaign. This month we’ll be focusing on aspects of a cultural change that is necessary alongside policy reform. Also behind the scenes, we’re getting ready for the release of our report on UK Universities Sexual Misconduct Policy.