Funding win to help address sexual harassment on campus

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Plans to address sexual harassment at Goldsmiths, University of London have been given a boost after the university won a share of £2.45 million in funding to help safeguard students.

Goldsmiths was one of 64 institutions to submit a successful bid to the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) Catalyst Fund Call, “Student Safeguarding on Campus”.

Full details of the grant awarded are yet to be released by HEFCE but Goldsmiths is to match the amount given by the funding body.

The funding will be used to support a range of actions including more support in Student Services for students and training for staff. There will also be a student awareness campaign led by Goldsmiths Students’ Union. All of this this work will be aligned to guidance from Universities UK.

Professor Elisabeth Hill, Deputy Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in applying for the Catalyst Fund Call which the university is match funding.

“We have a clear ambition to be sector-leading on these issues. This funding will help us further develop our programme of action to address sexual harassment – and ensure students feel safe and supported at our university.”

The grant comes after Goldsmiths last year published a 10-point action plan to address sexual harassment both on campus and beyond.

The plan includes the creation of a new definition of sexual harassment, the establishing of a Sexual Harassment Advisory Board as well as the creation of a senior role to lead a review of the university’s practices and cultures in addressing sexual harassment. This person is to join Goldsmiths next month. 

The £2.45m in grants from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund were issued in response to a report by the Universities UK Harassment Task Force which explored the nature and scale of sexual harassment in higher education.

HEFCE Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: “All students should feel safe and supported during their time in higher education. Universities and colleges are working hard to tackle issues of sexual harassment and violence on campus, but there is more to be done. Their determination and commitment is evident in the overwhelmingly positive response to HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund call.

“We are delighted to be supporting a range of innovative projects, and we will be looking to share good practice and evidence of successful outcomes over the coming months."

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: "We take any form of violence and sexual harassment extremely seriously, and expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach.

 “The interest and response to HEFCE’s fund has been hugely encouraging. The number of projects announced and the support shown reinforces the willingness of universities, across the country, to support staff and students in providing safe and secure campuses and I look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in due course.” 

HEFCE’s catalyst fund provides targeted investment in activity led by universities and colleges.

The fund supports a range of student and sector priorities, including innovation in higher education, efficiency and effectiveness, and student interest issues.

Full details of the awards can be found on the HEFCE website.