We have provided information that we hope will be helpful to you, your organisation, group or institution. We will continue to add to these resources. We also post links to articles on our twitter feed @1752group
Sector guidance on student complaints processes
The 1752 Group has partnered with leading law firm McAllister Olivarius to develop guidance for complaints, investigations and disciplinary processes into staff sexual misconduct in UK higher education.
This guidance is available here, alongside briefing notes on other related issues.
Better policies in the UK
Consensual relationships/personal relationships policies
In February 2020 UCL published a personal relationships policy that “prohibits close personal or intimate relationships between staff and students where there is direct supervision.”
Roehampton ‘s policy prohibits staff-student relationships. There are advantages to prohibiting such relationships, primarily that it explicitly disallows boundary-blurring behaviours (as described in the ‘Silencing Students‘ report). If staff-student relationships are not prohibited, there is a danger that staff feel it is still appropriate to make sexual or romantic advances towards students.
For a more fully developed versions of consensual relationships policy and the process of implementing this, Cornell University in the US has put its full report online based on an extensive consultation with staff and students.
The Power in the Academy report found that around 80% of students were uncomfortable with staff having sexual or romantic relationships with students, with female students being more uncomfortable than male students. We can make available the questions used for the ‘professional boundaries’ section of the survey for any institutions that want to use them. This survey can be carried out within your own institution to find out what type of policy might be appropriate for your institution. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like these questions.
Staff-student sexual misconduct policy
Durham University has a specific policy on dealing with staff-student sexual misconduct, entitled the Procedure for managing disclosures or reports involving allegations of staff sexual violence and misconduct. This document is a good example of how to think through the complexities this process and we would recommend it as an example of good practice.
UK-based data on staff sexual misconduct
2018 report ‘Silencing Students: Institutional Responses to Staff Sexual Misconduct in the UK’. This report drew on interviews with 16 students and early career academics as well as analysis of 61 policies across 25 institutions to explore students’ experiences of attempting to report staff sexual misconduct.
2018 Survey of UK current and former students: National Union of Students. 2018. Power in the Academy: Staff sexual misconduct in higher education. This is a survey of 1839 current and former students in the UK on their experiences of sexualised behaviour and sexual misconduct from staff within UK higher education, as well as their experiences of reporting staff sexual misconduct, and their attitudes towards professional boundaries with staff.
Sexual harassment allegations: find figures for UK universities, Guardian, 5 March 2017
Use the database complied by the Guardian to search for a UK university to find how many staff-on-student and staff-on-staff claims there have been in the past six years.
Academic journal articles from The 1752 Group
Tiffany Page, Anna Bull and Emma Chapman published an article in the journal Violence Against Women entitled ‘Making Power Visible: “Slow Activism” to Address Staff Sexual Misconduct in Higher Education‘. An open access pre-publication copy is available here.
Leila Whitley and Tiffany Page. Sexism at the Centre: Locating the problem of sexual harassment. New Formations, no. 86, 2015, pp. 34-53 (This article has now been available for free access, thanks to New Formations).
One-day conference on staff sexual misconduct in UK universities, held at University of Portsmouth, May 2018.
Audio files from talks at this event can be found here.
Professor Alison Phipps has created a growing list of support services for survivors which can be accessed here: https://genderate.wordpress.com/support/
Universities Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence: Training for Sustainable Services. This research project, led by Brunel University London with 7 partners and associate partners across 6 European countries, aims to develop innovative training for university staff who may respond to disclosures of sexual violence, and to embed this within institutions. Training resources developed by this initiative can be found here: http://usvreact.eu/resources/training-resources/
Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Conference (SHHE)
Read the papers delivered at the SHHE conference on staff-to-student sexual harassment held at Goldsmiths in December 2015.
The Guardian investigation into sexual harassment in UK universities
Why science breeds a culture of sexism, The Guardian, 7 July 2018
University of Cambridge admits significant sexual misconduct problem, The Guardian, 5 February 2018.
Whistleblower calls on universities to do more to safeguard students, Guardian, 7 March 2017
Calls for action by universities on ‘epidemic’ of harassment on campus, Guardian, 6 March, 2017
Editorial: The Guardian view on sexual harassment in universities: taking it seriously, Guardian, 6 March 2017
New sexual harassment claims at Goldsmiths spark calls for inquiry, Guardian, 6 March 2017
Sexual harassment allegations: find figures for UK universities, Guardian, 5 March 2017
Why the true scale of university harassment is so hard to uncover, Guardian, 5 March 2017
Sexual harassment ‘at epidemic levels’ in UK universities, Guardian, 5 March 2017
‘We felt inferior and degraded’: reporting sexual harassment at university, Guardian, 5 March 2017
Readers describe their experiences of misconduct, what happened when they complained – or why they chose not to.
Universities UK Taskforce Report
Sexual abuse and harassment by university staff against students – further work to address the issue, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive, Universities UK, 3 February 2017
This report summarises the evidence considered by the Universities UK Taskforce to examine violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students, and makes a series of recommendations for universities and UUK.
“The taskforce also received evidence relating to staff-to-student sexual harassment. This issue needs to be addressed, along with on-line harassment and hate crimes on the grounds of race. Universities UK will consult with universities, students and interested groups to assess what more can be done in these areas and what further action is necessary.”
Taskforce publishes recommendations to universities on dealing with violence against women and harassment, Universities UK, 20 October 2016
This news item summarises the main recommendations from the UUK Taskforce report.
Submission to Universities UK violence against women, harassment and hate crime taskforce January 2016
At the request of Australia’s 39 universities, the Australian Human Rights Commission conducted a national, independent survey of university students to gain greater insight into the nature, prevalence and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities. This includes figures on staff sexual misconduct.
US Reports & Data Articles
National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine: Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018)
This report reviews the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine experience sexual harassment and examines the existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers.
A Systematic Look at a Serial Problem: Sexual Harassment of Students by University Faculty. Cantalupo and Kidder, Utah Law Review 2017
This review includes nearly three hundred US cases of staff sexual misconduct obtained from: (1) media reports; (2) federal civil rights investigations by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice; (3) lawsuits by students alleging sexual harassment; and (4) lawsuits by tenure-track faculty fired for sexual harassment.
University of California Berkeley sexual harassment investigation reports
UC Berkeley has prepared and released a number of public records in response to a public records act request to gauge how UC Berkeley had disciplined employees who violated the campus’ sexual harassment policy.
The report collated responses from 150,072 students across 27 US universities. This study found that graduate students were three times as vulnerable to harassment by supervisors, teachers or advisors than undergraduate students. Nearly one in six (15.8%) female graduate students had experienced sexual harassment from a teacher or advisor.
Northwestern University Annual Sexual Misconduct Report for 2015-2016
Of 179 complaints made, 29 were in response to faculty and staff sexual misconduct.The report presents data on the number of sexual misconduct concerns reported to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Office and the Office of Student Conduct during the academic year 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2015.
Media articles, interviews and posts (it is now proving difficult to keep up to date with the proliferation of articles – this archive ends April 2018).
Sexual misconduct at UK universities an ‘open secret’: report. Aljazeera. 4 April 2018
Push for ban on sex between university lecturers and students [in Australia], The Age, 22 November 2017
Policies and strategies not enough to tackle campus sexual harassment, Times Higher Education, 10 November 2017. By Professor Janet Beer, UUK President.
Two women accuse former Stanford professors of sexual assault, The Stanford Daily, 9 November 2017
The Weinsteins of academia can no longer be tolerated, Times Higher Education, 8 November 2017. By Graham Towl and Kelsey Paske
How NDAs maintain a culture of silence around workplace sexual harassment, The Independent, 17 October 2017
Students are still afraid to report sexual assault, by Hareem Ghani and Graham Towl, Times Higher Education, 7 August 2017
Cultural change is needed to tackle sexual harassment on campus, The Guardian, 20 July 2017
Worse Than It Seems: New study of harassment of graduate students by faculty members suggests that the problem is worse — both in level of offense and prevalence of repeat offenders — than many believe, Inside Higher Ed, 18 July 2017
UC Berkeley professor fired nearly two years after sexual harassment claims substantiated, The Guardian, 24 May 2017
There is no liberal right to sex with students, Times Higher Education, 4 May
A Former Student Says UC Berkeley’s Star Philosophy Professor Groped Her And Watched Porn At Work, Buzzfeed, 23 March 2017
There’s a sexual assault crisis at British universities. And it’s getting worse, Huck, 22 March 2017
Charges of Ignoring Harassment, Year After Year, Ohio University, Inside Higher Ed, 20 March 2017
Sexual harassment at universities has reached record-levels, new research reveals, The Telegraph, 6 March 2017
‘It’s rampant’: Documents reveal 124 cases of UC employees’ sex misconduct: California Public Records Act request sheds light on 3-year span of Title IX investigations. The Daily Californian, 28 February 2017
On BBC Woman’s Hour Harriet Harman discusses staff sexual misconduct & the power imbalance for students (at 8.50sec), 1 February 2017
Harriet Harman memoir tells of university tutor’s ‘grade for sex’ offer, Guardian, 29 January 2017
‘Get house in order’ on staff-student liaisons, says NUS officer, Times High Education, 20 January 2017
BBC Radio 5 interview with Allison Smith and Adam Tickell on the Independent Review into The University of Sussex’s Response to Domestic Violence, 20 January 2017 (at 1.46.22)
Sussex University failed duty of care to assault victim, inquiry finds, Guardian, 17 January 2017
Northwestern University releases first annual sexual misconduct data report, The Daily Northwestern, 6 January 2017
What will happen in higher education in 2017?, Guardian, 5 January 2017
Universities under fire for gagging former employees, Guardian, 30 December 2016
Month by Month, 2016 Cemented Science’s Sexual Harassment Problem, Wired, 29 December 2016
Imperial provost: we will confront our problems head on, Times Higher Education, 21 December 2016
Ex-Stanford professor: I was pushed out after reporting sexual harassment, Guardian, 19 December 2016
I was assaulted while researching, but was too scared to speak out, Guardian, 9 December 2016
Sexual harassment panel condemns ‘culture of condoning’, Varsity, 5 December 2016
Campus Press vs. Colleges: Kentucky Suit Highlights Free-Speech Fight, New York Times, 2 December 2016
Deakin University gags staff over harassment case, ABC News, 21 November 2016
9 in 10 female students groped in clubs, Sunday Times, 20 November 2016
Berkeley Students Are Challenging How Faculty Harassment Is Handled, Slate, 18 November 2016
Investigation: UC Berkeley professor sexually harassed student, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 November 2016
‘It’s going to silence people’: setback feared in fighting campus sexual assault, Guardian, 11 November 2016
82 percent of surveyed Ohio University students said they’ve experienced sexual misconduct, NBC4i.com, 10 November 2016 (9% of graduate students of colour reported sexual misconduct by academic staff).
Concerns raised as Universities Australia funds Human Right Commission survey of sexual assaults and abuse, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 November 2016
Britain’s Universities “Plagued by a Culture of Sexual Harassment” News, Entertainment, Lifestyle, 31 October 2016
University sex abuse report fails to tackle staff attacks on UK students, The Guardian, 21 October 2016
Universities must offer ‘joined-up’ response on harassment and abuse, Times Higher Education, 21 October 2016
Universities Told To Take “A Zero-Tolerance Approach” To Sexual Violence on Campus, BuzzFeed News, 21 October 2016
Universities are making radical new changes to how they deal with rape, Broadly, 21 October 2016
Zero tolerance to sexual violence required on campus, University World News, 21 October 2016
I woke in a stranger’s bed, says university rape victim, BBC Education, 21 October 2016
Full list of Australian universities exposed by sexual assault investigation, 10 October 2016, news.com.au
The largest ever Freedom of Information investigation into reports of rape, attempted rape, and other sexual misconduct at Australian universities.
Scale of sexual abuse in UK universities likened to Savile and Catholic scandals, The Guardian, 7 October 2016
‘I was so traumatised’: accounts of sexual harassment in UK universities, The Guardian, 7 October 2016
Sexual harassment at university: ‘I felt terrified to say anything’, The Guardian, 7 October 2016
The Guardian view on student sexual harassment: stamp it out, The Guardian, 7 October 2016
Berkeley professor at center of sexual harassment scandal sues his accusers, The Guardian, 29 September 2016
UC Berkeley dean who violated sexual harassment policies returns to campus, The Guardian, 7 September 2016
“Deeply disturbing responses” to uni harassment survey Human Rights Commission says, ABC Australia, 31 August 2016
Suspension is a feminist issue, Times Higher Education
Sussex University allowed senior lecturer to continue teaching after he beat up student girlfriend, Independent, 12 August 2016
Sexual violence at the sociology conference, by Eric Anthony Grollman. Conditionally Accepted blog, 31 August 2016
Campus care advocate supports California State University, Northbridge, survivors of sexual assault, CSUN Today, 23 August 2016
For graduate students at UW-Madison, sexual harassment sometimes comes from faculty, Wisconsin State Journal, 21 August 2016
UC Berkeley chancellor to resign amid controversies, including criticism of university response to sexual harassment allegations, The Washington Post, 17 August 2016
How sexual harassment halts science, Slate, 19 July 2016
What happens when a harassment whistleblower goes on the science job market, Wired, 17 July 2016
After a professor is cleared of sexual harassment, critics fear ‘Culture of Silence’ at Yale, New York Times, 8 July 2016
Chicago professor resigns amid sexual misconduct investigation, New York Times, 2 February 2016
Why It’s Harder For Grad Students to Report Sexual Harassment, The Huffington Post
Ethics and the Eye of the Beholder: Thomas Pogge, one of the world’s most prominent ethicists, stands accused of manipulating students to gain sexual advantage. Buzzfeed
This Professor fell in love with his grad student-and then fired her for it: A sexual harassment case occurring at Caltech, where the academic remains employed and is required to “undergo professional coaching” on supervising and mentoring students, Buzzfeed
The Consequences of Sexual Harassment in Astronomy: A six-month investigation found a decade of sexual harassment complaints against famous astronomer Geoff Marcy to be credible, The Atlantic
Sexual relations between students and faculty: A look at the sexual harassment policies at Canadian universities, University Affairs, 1 December 2000
Strategic Misogyny – Collects stories of sexual harassment in higher education
Feministkilljoys – Prof. Sara Ahmed’s blog, with many relevant posts
Gender, body, politics – writing by Dr Alison Phipps
Tenure, She Wrote – a collaborative blog devoted to chronicling the (mis)adventures of women in academia, from undergraduate to Full Professor
Academic Sexism Stories – A Belgian blog also collecting stories of sexism in higher education
Being a woman in philosophy – the sexual harassment archive