Image Credit: Patrick Hook-Willers
After two years of lobbying, YUSU have announced that a new reporting system called Report and Support has been launched at the University. The new tool will allow for individuals to report incidents of student misconduct, and allow people access to University support services.
The tool allows for individuals to report misconduct anonymously or with personal details. Reporting with contact details will mean that a member of staff can contact the person making the report and discuss the steps they would like to take following their report. If they choose to report anonymously, the University cannot take action on the specific report, but the information will be used “to better understand the issues impacting our University community, to monitor trends and inform proactive and preventative work.”
The tool can be used to report misconduct for issues regarding sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic abuse, bullying, hate crime, discrimination, or any other issues they have faced which they need support for or wish to flag to the University.
Taking to Facebook, the launch of the tool was announced by YUSU Community and Wellbeing Officer, Steph Hayle. In her post, Hayle stated that “this new system will hopefully be a massive step forward from the old Google doc method of reporting misconduct, and will help the University take more decisive action against bullying, harassment, and more serious offences at the University.”
In describing how the tool works, Hayle points out that “whenever and however you report something you will be automatically linked to the best support for your circumstance and the process has been made far simpler than ever before to encourage people to speak up.” This tool is clearly an improvement from the systems previously in place, which can only mean that the fight against issues such as hate crime and sexual violence can be reported and investigated more as a result of making it easier for people to “speak up”.
Hayle also commented that she “really hopes this will make a difference, because it's been one hell of a fight to get it” - a fight which she states has taken her “whole 2 years in office” to achieve. Nouse contacted Hayle as to why it took the University so long to implement this tool, she said that:
"The tool was purchased months ago and unfortunately the University kept pushing back publishing for numerous reasons, which myself and the GSA wellbeing officer fought back against repeatedly. We felt there was no justification to delay providing vital support to students. The University often has a problem accepting their own shortcomings, and this was one of those key areas in which they were failing students, and this was raised by the last 4 years worth of Wellbeing Officers. Perhaps the main reason for delay was that there was a fear from the University that a new system would increased the number of reports to a level they couldn't handle - an excuse the Student Union fervently protested - but thankfully, YUSU lobbying also successfully introduced a Sexual Violence Liasion Officer, which has been able to support the caseload, meaning there should be enough staffing capability to handle the system."
She also highlighted the importance of this tool, stating that "report and Support not only presents a more accessible and streamlined way of reporting misconduct (such as harassment or abuse) but will link students to the support services best placed to help them once their report is made. This means student's aren't left uncertain about where to turn next when seeking action with the University."
*Nouse *contacted Daisy Slate, one of the YUSU Women and Non-Binary Officers, and asked her why she believes the new tool will make a difference on campus, she told us that:
"Now both staff and students can report misconduct at the level they feel comfortable with. By being able to see trends in reports the university can focus its action on tackling specific issues, such as sexual violence, as well as broader issues such as bullying. All in all this will make a huge difference in keeping students safe during their time at York."
The University also took to social media to announce the creation of the new tool, citing that “we will never tire in calling out racism and hate crime, which will never be tolerated in our community here at York. Our new Report and Support tool is now in place to offer safe, confidential advice, and will help us tackle all forms of discrimination.”