Bullying & Harassment
Information for students
The University does not tolerate bullying, harassment, discrimination or victimisation of any kind. We expect all members of our community to treat each other with respect, dignity, courtesy and consideration.
The University takes all reports of bullying and harassment seriously. We will work with students to address allegations and effects on their well-being and their studies with appropriate confidentiality and sensitivity. There are a number of ways to resolve matters of bullying and harassment, depending on the nature of the issue and your desired outcomes. We would recommend you get in touch with an adviser to explore your options further.
What is bullying and harassment?
Harassment is unwanted and unwarranted physical, sexual, verbal or non-verbal conduct which may (intentionally or unintentionally) violate a person's dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It is not necessary for the recipient to have explicitly stated that they object to the behaviour for it to be unwanted.
Harassment can take many different forms, some of which may be more easily identifiable than others. Harassment can be:
- physical, psychological, and/or sexual;
- one off incidents or more systematic patterns of behaviour;
- amongst students, or between students and staff.
- Range from minor cases of disrespect to more serious acts, including criminal offences, which may require the intervention of the police or other public authorities.
What is deemed to be offensive, insensitive or harassment may vary considerably depending on context, the relationships of the people concerned and historical and cultural factors. However, it is the perception of the recipient and the impact of the alleged perpetrator’s behaviour which is most relevant, not the motive or intent behind it.
Bullying is a form of harassment and may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, or the abuse or misuse of power (which does not always mean being in a position of authority) through means intended to undermine, humiliate, or denigrate a person.
Harassment on grounds of gender, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age is unlawful under the Equality Act (2010).
Support for students
If you feel that you are being subjected to harassment or bullying in any form by a member of staff or other students, we would recommend you talk to someone to consider a way of resolving the issue, and getting the support you need.
You can report an incident to the University via the 'Tell Someone' online form, email address or phone number. When you contact 'Tell Someone' you are not committing to any course of action. A member of staff will get in touch with you to talk about what has happened, the support available and what steps you might want to take next. The email and online form is monitored by a small group of staff who have been trained in responding to, and supporting students who have experienced bullying, harassment or sexual violence. Where appropriate, the member of staff can assist you to resolve the concern informally, or can signpost you to the formal complaints procedures.
The Students’ Union Advice Service offers independent, confidential advice on a range of issues, including bullying and harassment. Students’ Union Advisers can assist you to resolve concerns through the formal complaints routes, or through informal means. Advisers can accompany you to meetings and can advise you on how university complaints procedures work.
Counselling offers students space to reflect on their experience, clarify and name the problem, articulate how they are feeling, identify personal strengths, stand up to and challenge the bullying and harassment and address the impact of the experience on their confidence, self-esteem and well being.
There are a number of ways to resolve matters of bullying and harassment, depending on the nature of the issue and your desired outcomes.
We would recommend you get in touch with an adviser to explore your options further.
It will not be appropriate in certain circumstances but it is possible to take action to resolve less serious issues of harassment informally.
Informal resolutions are steps taken to resolve an issue through the voluntary participation of both parties. Informal resolutions can be a quick and accessible way of addressing a concern.
If you would prefer to resolve the matter informally we would still encourage you to talk to someone about your concerns and consider an approach that you feel comfortable with. You may want to seek assistance from a member of staff (e.g. Course Leader, Programme Director), or the Students’ Union Advice Service. You can also raise an informal complaint through your College Student Complaints and Appeals Officer.
You may wish to:
- Raise the issue directly with the person to give them an opportunity to understand and address the difficulties their actions are causing you. Sometimes it is enough just to explain to the person what is unwanted about their behaviour and why it is unacceptable.
- Ask a member of staff from your course (or your halls, if appropriate) to monitor interactions, to be alert to inappropriate behaviours and/or speak to the person with you.
- Ask a member of staff to speak to the person on your behalf.
- Mediation – The University offers a free, independent mediation service. Mediation can enable people to resolve concerns in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental way, through talking with an impartial facilitator. To find out more, contact Tell Someone.
If you feel you have experienced bullying or harassment by a member of staff, you can submit a complaint in line with the Student Complaints Procedure.
If you wish to report the behaviour of another student, you can contact your Dean directly, and it will be considered in line with the Student Disciplinary Code.
For independent, confidential advice on making a formal complaint, please contact the Students' Union Advice Service.